I was flabbergasted when I learnt from Sahara Reporters and several online media that Mr. Femi Otedola, owner of Zenon Oil and Forte Oil Plc, who in 2014 was
listed by Forbes magazine as Africa’s 29th richest person, with a net worth of $900 million, had since 2004 owed 16 million US dollars to the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC].
More flabbergasting is the fact that it is one week after and Mr Femi Otedola [picture above] has not deemed it fit to respond in details to this damning revelation.
This is more so, because the man in question has been accused to have used his closeness to the Nigerian Presidency; including his status as a member of the National Economic Council to the immediate past government to shield himself from debt recovery and possible prosecution.
If this is proven to be correct, the commission of an act of economic sabotage would have been established against him and the two firms – Zenon Oil and Fineshade Energy Company Limited – that he was purported to have used to perpetrate the alleged shady transactions.
Consequently, the Nigerian Authority should as a matter of urgency step up and use all the instrument at her disposal to bring Mr Femi Otedola and all those who have colluded with him to book and recover the said debt without any further delay.
Sadly, Mr Femi Otedola who ought to be among the elite few who should be overtly committed to the irreversible advancement of Nigeria’s economy having purportedly benefited immensely from Nigeria as part of a tiny group of businessmen and women favored by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in a series of shady deals, often involving questionable transfers of public assets. Unfortunately, that seems not to be the case.
Unpatriotically, it may seem, Mr Femi Otedola may have grossly abused his closely to the Nigerian Presidency. He may have polluted the corridors of power and if found culpable should be consequently eased out of it.
Historically, shady characters and men who were randomly associated with infamy and yet allowed the kind of leverage that Mr Femi Otedola enjoys today in Nigeria have always brought calamitous consequences on such nations.
The threat they pose to a free and democratic society is gargantuan because of the immense resources at their disposal and the resultant influence they wield.
It is in the light of the above that the whistle blown last week by Sahara Reporters and others on this subject matter should be given the urgent and broad public and state attention it deserves. An urgent response from the Nigerian Authority, Femi Otedola, the two firms mentioned and industry watchers is therefore desirable.