Read OPINION: The oil cabal Is back

Editor’s note: In this piece, Abdulmalik
Inuwa Suleiman is of the opinion that the
cabals that have been “in charge of the oil
sector will stop at nothing to discreet the
effort by President Muhammadu Buhari
and the junior minister of petroleum, Ibe
Kachikwu to clean up the heavily corrupt
Nigeria’s oil sector.
President Muhammadu Buhari and the
junior minister of petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu
The beneficiaries of the corruption in the
oil industry are definitely still smarting
from the industry wide changes
implemented by the minister of state for
petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu especially at
the Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation (NNPC).
It was to be expected that they will not go
down without a fight and that the seeming
calm after the changes were announced was
just the oil bandits in retreat to reassess
their strategies for challenging a
government that has exhibited zero
tolerance for corruption.
Even after spending weeks to perfect their
response to the clamping down on
corruption in the industry they were only
able to rehash their old strategies – launch
personal attacks on the minister and his
family. This took the wind out of the re-
launched of a campaign of calumny they
had launched against him in the past since
it came out as the same tired stories they
had always peddled.
A tweet by one of their online partner was
all the other paid platforms latched unto to
push out a news alert that Dumebi
Kachikwu, the minister’s younger brother
has been declared wanted by the Economic
and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
They also hyped the aspect about his bank
account(s) being frozen without being able
to specify what phantom crime they are
accusing him of this time around.
A call to Dumebi Kachikwu however
exposed the story as a figment of the
writers’ overstimulated imaginations as he
not only denied being on the run from the
anti-graft agency but that he was still able
to transact with his account(s) as at the time
he was asked to verify the story.
That a false story was pushed out as
breaking news should worry all of us. Not
just because no one wants to or deserves to
be so slandered but because of the
inherent risks that such irresponsible
behaviour poses tour collective freedom.
All over the governments are scaling back
on liberties often citing terrorism and
online trolling.
We have been fortunate that the ill-
conceived bill to regulate social media and
online platforms died a natural death but
this kind of online hooliganism risks
creating the basis on which society would
demand a restriction of the freedom
available online.

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Much as one would want to call the online
trolls to order however, they are merely
the symptoms of a more insidious disease.
They are the smoking guns while the hands
that pulled the trigger actually belonged to
the bandits that had held Nigerians hostage
until the recent changes made to the way
the oil industry is managed.
The kite flown about Dumebi Kachikwu’s
arrest was apparently better managed than
another story that surfaced at exactly the
same time. The Dumebi story basically
tried to hide under the EFCC without
canvassing the position of its sponsors.
The true identities of those paying for this
campaign however surfaced in the second
story that flushed morality down the
sinkhole with unprintable accusations
targeted at undermining the marriage of
the minister of state for Petroleum. It did
everything to cast aspersions on his person
as a gentleman as only could be delivered
by the worst form of yellow journalism.
In the story, one of those redeployed by
Kachikwu was desperately packaged to
appear like the victim. Had those who
rehashed this overused rendition of an
event that never happened bothered to
cross check their facts, they would have
seen that redeployment of their principal
was an act of unmerited mercy as
thousands of Nigerian youths has taken to
the streets at the height of the fuel crisis to
demand the sack of this particular official
for an history of record setting corruption.
That a person who should have been fired,
arrested, tried and jailed for serial theft is
now piloting a campaign of calumny against
the minister that showed magnanimity is
the real definition of travesty.
My one cent for the team working on this
new round of “bring the Kachikwus
down” attack is that they should get back
with the owners of the brief and demand
more money because the task they have
signed up for is not an easy one. They are
being asked to hallucinate about events that
never happened and this is a sure way of
toying with eventual mental incapacitation
because the prolonged hallucination trips
could become addictive.

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