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Without the PIB Diezani stole billions, with it she would have stolen trillions, says Tam David-West

Tam David-West, a professor of virology and former Minister of Petroleum and Energy, says if Diezani Allison-Madueke, a former Petrleum Minister, could steal billions of naira from the oil sector without the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), she would have stolen trillions if the bill had been passed at the time.

David-West, who served as Petroleum Minister under Muhammadu Buhari’s military regime between 1984 and 1985, said the PIB may not be the all-round solution to the numerous challenges facing the Nigerian oil sector.

According to him, the bill PIB gives sweeping powers to the Minister of Petroleum Resources who, is also the chairman of the Board of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as well as imposes more taxes on foreign companies, which would lead them to pull their investment from the country.

“The PIB will make foreign companies investment in oil business in Nigeria difficult,”David-West said in an interview with The Punch.

“The bill is meant to correct the oil industry but there are lots of taxes in it. It will not encourage what we call joint venture partnership.

“The taxes will chase investors away. They may not tell us the truth but the reality is that many oil companies are divesting from Nigeria secretly.

“They are taking their assets out of Nigeria without making a noise about it.

Before now, many oil companies objected to a lot of clauses in it (the Pib). They inject a lot of money into the industry, they pay royalty, they pay taxes and now you want to add more burden on them.

“The PIB has clauses that are burdensome. If you consider the politically unfavourable atmosphere in Nigeria, the electric car issue, alternative source of energy and so on, the future of oil business in Nigeria is in jeopardy.

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“We will suffer more because we depend on oil. Nigeria depends only on oil. We only talk about diversification without acting on it.”

David-West expressed surprise at the numerous acts of corruption that was alleged to be carried out by Alison-Madueke during her time as oil minister, adding that with the PIB in place, it could have been worse.

“I know Dieziani very well. She was in Shell before; so I was surprised that she did what she did. How could she enrich herself so much?” he wondered.

“The PIB that was proposed was personalised. It gave the minister more power in the sector and she made sure it was so while she was there.

“If without the PIB, she made billions, with it, she would have stolen trillions.”

As at August this year, the EFCC said that a total of N47.2 Billion and $487.5 Million in cash and properties have been traced to Allison Madueke.

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