African press review 26 October 2012
Oil traders and Nigerian officials are caught in a billions-of-dollars scam. Are northern Nigerian politicians colluding with Boko Haram. Can Muslim prayers bring peace to the country? And Taraba state's governor is fighting for his life.
In Nigeria the press is awash with details from a leaked report detailing the embezzlement of billions of dollars from the oil and gas industry through price deals struck by some multinationals and government officials over the past decade.
The findings are contained in a leaked study carried out by a panel led by Nuhu Ribadu, former head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Unit at the request of the oil ministry.
Vanguard newspaper takes up revelations that international traders often bought crude without formal contracts and that Nigeria lost up to 29 billion dollars due to the manipulation of oil prices in the international market.
The Nigerian Tribune highlights details pointing to giants such as Shell, Total and Eni and others still owing Nigeria a whopping three billion dollars in unpaid bonuses and royalties that should have been settled during the past 10 years. The study, according to the paper, accuses several oil ministers of handing out licences at their own discretion and of involvement in shady dealings that cost the treasury 183 million dollars between 2009 and 2011.
Punch newspaper quotes the presidency saying that the Ribadu committee report, which is due to be presented to President Goodluck Jonathan next month, was leaked by Reuters news agency to embarrass the government.
The northern-owned Nation newspaper takes up allegations by former Borno State Governor Ali Modu Sheriff that the state’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chapter “is the engine room of the terrorist organisation Boko Haram”.
Sheriff’s remarks come as PDP Senator Ahmed Khalifa Zanna is undergoing interrogation after a suspected Boko Haram commander was arrested, allegedly in his house. The Nation says that Ali Modu Sheriff, who was also a senator, has been exchanging accusations with Khalifa Zanna over the arrest of suspected Boko Haram commander Shuaib Bama.
The Sun welcomes special prayers for “continued peace and co-existence of Nigeria”, held at Mount Arafat in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Thursday by prominent Muslim clerics.
The paper explains that top members of the Council of Ulemas of Nigeria (CUN), led by the Sultan of Sokoto, are part of a federal government delegation to this year’s haj. According to the paper the clerics asked God to bring the atmosphere of insecurity prevailing in Nigeria to an end soonest.
And several newspapers are praying for the life of Taraba state governor Danbaba Suntal whose plane crashed in the outskirts of Yola in Adamawa state late Thursday.
Daily Trust reports that Danbaba, who was flying the private Cessna 208 jet himself, was badly injured alongside five other passengers. Initial press reports said the governor died in the crash but all the major dailies quote the aviation ministry and the Taraba and Adamawa state governments saying that he survived but remains in critical condition in hospital.