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Buhari’s aides, Tinubu, Sylva, Daura in $100m bribery scam over sales of 57 marginal oil fields



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Some aides to President Muhammadu Buhari, including Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, the President’s nephew, Mamman Daura, Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources, Sarki Auwalu, and certain players in the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy have been linked to allegations of $100 million bribery in the sales of 57 marginal oil fields in the Niger Delta by the Buhari administration.

The presidential aides linked to the alleged scam include Personal Assistant (P.A) to the President, Sabiu Yusuf, popularly known in the presidency as Tunde; Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Domestic Matters to the President, Sarki Abba, as well as the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote.

Some of the marginal fields were alleged to be allocated to the aides of President Buhari, the president’s political associates and relations, as well as cronies of the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva. Other fields were said to be sold to players in the oil and gas industry who allegedly paid huge sums of money as bribe purportedly between $750,000.00 and $1 million or more outside the official sales amount to acquire the marginal oil fields on sale.

The Chief Executive Officer of Oando, Wale Tinubu, was alleged to have offered $20 million bribery to the minister and the president’s men to secure the allocation of the Egbolom oil field, an onshore (Swamp) asset, identified in the Niger Delta. The oil field was said to contain the highest estimated Ultimate Recoverable (2P) Reserves of 85 million barrels of crude oil, a volume said to be over 30% greater than the second largest oil field identified to be in the southeast shallow water of the Niger Delta.

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Sylva, was disclosed to be allegedly using a proxy, Idaere Ogan, widely known as Ambassador, who stands as front, to collect bribes from bidders and other lobbyists for the marginal field.

A source was cited to have revealed: “Sylva used Idaere Ogan as his front to collect bribes of $750,000 to $1 million per field.

“Idaere Ogan is popularly known as Ambassador, a nick name.”

Industry sources were further cited to have protested that the bidding procedures for the licenses of the 57 marginal field defied due process and consideration of professional competence and welfare of crude oil host communities. Proper profile of the bidding companies was not verified by the government, the minister and other officials grant approvals and direct the selected bidder to pay to a particular office.

More so, companies that did not bid for the marginal oil fields were detected to be invited by the ministry and department in the petroleum sector to present business documents, after which they were allocated oil fields.

Industry sources, accordingly, protested: “nobody knows their partners and percentages. They just ask you to go and pay once you are awarded oil field. When you go to pay, they tell you who to pay to and that is where you pay the bribe.

“The award letter is supposed to indicate who your partners are, your percentages and what your signature bonus payment would be. The whole stuff was not transparent. Some companies never bided or submitted bids, but they were called upon to submit company documents only and got letters awarding them marginal fields.”

A source revealed that one of the companies allocated a marginal field, Gab and Nuella Concept Limited, by Veronica Folorunso, lacks clear background and technical competence. The revealed that status searching at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), showed that while Gab and Nuella Concept was registered in Nigeria on November 23, 2009, having its address at 268 Muri Okunola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos; and also registered in the United States on March 8, 2014. Gab and Nuella Concept office in the US located at 487 Mosswood Shoals, Stone Mountain, Georgia, 30087, is merely a two-bedroom apartment. The owner, Ms. Folorunso, shares the same office with two others, that pay monthly rent of $1,300. Invariably, Gab and Nuella Concept allocated oil field in Nigeria shares the two-bedroom office in the US with three other tenants.

Folorunso was alleged to be one of the mistresses of the Minister of State for Petroleum, which constitute, perhaps, the qualification of her company to be allocated a marginal oil field in the country.


The YYConnect Consulting Limited has CAC registration number 1214741, incorporated on April 9, 2014, but was identified to lack known qualification or history in the oil industry, yet was allocated marginal field by the government.

While YYConnect Consulting is at 163/165 Broad Street, Old Niger House), Marina, Lagos, the company’s registration address is No 6 Alpha Road, Legacy Ocean Bay Estate, Lagos. The Directors include Okeremi Akinyemi, Okeremi Yetunde, while Moore Clarks is recorded as Secretary.

The company also listed the same Directors, uses same address with YYConnect Farms Limited. This raises suspicion on the profile allocated marginal oil field, which many believe that the real company awarded a marginal field specialises in farming and not oil and gas.

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, and nephew to President Buhari, Mamman Daura, were alleged to falsified the approval of President Buhari to revoke four oil licenses issued to Addax Petroleum, a Chinese-owned oil company, and re-allocated the same oil filed to Emeka Offor, a businessman from the southeast Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, through the Department of Petroleum Resources, had in a letter dated January 22, 2021, to the Managing Director of YYConnect Consulting Ltd, 163/165 Broad Street, Marina Lagos, on a Subject: “202: Marginal Field Bid Round (MFBR) Exercise Signature Bonus Payment Currency Denomination,” declared: “Further to our letter of 16th December 2020, ref. DPR/188Mobi/173/42 notifying you of your status in the ongoing MFBR exercise, please be informed that Government has decided to accept the payment of Signature Bonus for the 2020 MFBR in either dollars or Nigerian Naira.

“Consequently, you are kindly requested to indicate your preferred currency of payment if called upon to do so.

“Your response should be forwarded to [email protected] on or before 29th January 2021.”

The letter was signed by Engineer Sarki Auwalu, Director/CEO, Department of Petroleum Resources.

The Petroleum Ministry in another letter dated 16th December 2020 to the Managing Director of GAB and Nuella Concept Limited, 268, Muri Okunola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, with “Subject: 2020: Marginal Field Bid Round (MFBR) Exercise: Notification of Technical and Commercial Bid Status,” declared: “Following your participation in the 2020 Marginal Field Bid Round (MFBR) Exercise, I am pleased to notify you that your company has been shortlisted alongside other companies as potential awardee(s) for an asset.

“Kindly note that relevant information on the next step in the Bid round Exercise will be communicated to you in due course.”

The letter was also signed by Engr. Sarki Auwalu, Director/CEO Department of Petroleum Resources.