Tag Archives: nigerian politics

WikiLeaks: Chinese oil companies not welcome in Nigeria

Extract from a Wikileaks cable on the lack of trust in Chinese oil companies presence in Nigeria. Statements about corruption and alleged difficulties in working for Chinese companies:

“Two xxxxxxxxxxxx officials recently volunteered that Chinese oil companies had made a lot of mistakes in Nigeria and neither official welcomed their presence. Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) xxxxxxxxxxx said on xxxxxxxxxxxx the NNPC is aware of how the Chinese have behaved in the Sudan and Chad and that the Chinese do not know how to deal with a democratic government. xxxxxxxxxxxx complained on November 11 that there is no recourse when dealing with the Chinese and that the Chinese do not respect local laws. The poor image of the Chinese helps to explain why they were never a serious threat to the renewal of the international oil companies’ (IOCs) oil mining licenses (OMLs).


ruffled feathers…


2. (C) Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) xxxxxxxxxxxx discussed the Chinese oil companies’ recent attempts to obtain deep water oil mining leases (OMLs) with Economic Counselor and Trade and Investment Specialist on November 13. xxxxxxxxxxxx said that Shell Nigeria had opened the door for the Chinese by resisting GON efforts to pass the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and telling the National Assembly that the “Nigerian oil industry would be dead” if the PIB passed. “So they brought in the Chinese,” xxxxxxxxxxxx said.

3. (C) Asked about how the Chinese handled themselves in Nigeria, xxxxxxxxxxxx said, “the Chinese are very aggressive because they need the oil.” “They came in with big money,” he said, “and they were ready with large loans with low interest rates.” But the Chinese also made some mistakes. First, xxxxxxxxxxxx said, “We know what had happened in the Sudan and Chad and we know enough about them to know where we want them and where we don’t.” At the same time, xxxxxxxxxxxx said, “No one really desires to see the IOCs go when we have worked with them so long. Long-term friendships develop, a lot is learned from them, and we know how they do business.”

4. (C) Second, xxxxxxxxxxxx said, “Their oil companies are run by the Chinese government and they do not know how to deal with the Chinese government and they do not know how to deal with a democratic government. For example, the Chinese told the NNPC officials which fields they wanted and the NNPC officials had to say, ‘No, this field is operated by someone.'” The Chinese acted dumbfounded and said, “You mean we can’t have it?” “The PIB did not come from nowhere,” xxxxxxxxxxxx explained. Much consultation occurred before the GON presented the PIB to the National Assembly and all that was not going to be undone because of a Chinese official. “The Chinese caused the problem,” he summarized, “and they ruffled a lot of feathers.” xxxxxxxxxxxxadded that Gazprom of Russia had used a similar approach. “We are lucky we have a democratic government” he said, “Under the military, the Chinese and Russians would be here.”


…and no forwarding address


5. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx colleagues also told visiting Coordinator for International Energy Affairs (S/CIEA) David Goldwyn and his delegation on November 11 that he and his union colleagues did not want the Chinese in the Nigerian oil sector. Goldwyn was asking about the problems faced by xxxxxxxxxxxx said, “The Chinese are here and that is a huge problem!” “xxxxxxxxxxxx have a list of the worst five countries to work for,” xxxxxxxxxxxx said, “and they are on that list.” xxxxxxxxxxxx explained that xxxxxxxxxxxx had experienced a problem with ExxonMobil when they “wrongfully fired a worker.” xxxxxxxxxxxx applied pressure through the U.S. steel workers and the worker in question was given a choice of being re-hired or compensated and xxxxxxxxxxxx chose the latter. “If xxxxxxxxxxxx a problem with a Chinese company,” xxxxxxxxxxxx complained, “who can xxxxxxxxxxxx to?” (COMMENT: Nigerian xxxxxxxxxxxx have complained to Labor Officer that the Chinese do not have industrial relations representatives or any formal human resources process other than the immediate supervisor who does the hiring and firing. Dealing with non-English-speaking Chinese officials also hinders constructive interaction. END COMMENT).

6. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx later elaborated by alleging that Chinese labor practices were not good so no one wants to be part of it. “Look at the Chinese mining companies in Zambia,” xxxxxxxxxxxx said, “the labor unions there had to chase them out.” xxxxxxxxxxxx noted that corrupt people in China were put to death, but overseas they quickly adapt to the local environment, including adopting corrupt practices. “The Chinese have no respect for local laws,” xxxxxxxxxxxx said, “and they compromise a lot of things, including safety.”

7. (C) Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) xxxxxxxxxxxx said the Chinese were the first to bribe local officials to win contracts and get around local laws. By contrast, xxxxxxxxxxxx said xxxxxxxxxxxx played by the rules and was above-board. “xxxxxxxxxxxx proud of xxxxxxxxxxxx company in that respect,” xxxxxxxxxxxx said. (See reftel for additional background on Goldwyn’s meeting with the xxxxxxxxxxxx).




8. (C) The poor image of the Chinese helps to explain why they never seriously threatened renewal of the IOCs’ oil mining licenses (OMLs), the first of which the GON signed with ExxonMobil on November 20. Most of the remainder will be signed in the coming weeks. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Odein Ajumogobia told the joint GON-ExxonMobil press conference on the same day that, “There was never any consideration of selling or trading one firm for another.” But he also said that, “NNPC has a right to relinquish any part of its equity to any third party that expresses interest and it is in that regard that the discussions with the Chinese have been carrying on.” The GON owns 60 percent of all the joint ventures with the IOCs (55 percent in the case of Shell). So, the NNPC and the IOCs could still end up having minority Chinese partners –whether they like it or not.

9. (U) Embassy coordinated this telegram with ConGen Lagos.Sanders”


Protest group labels Atiku’s election as ‘worrisome’

The head of the Anti-Babangida coalition has sent out a warning to Nigeria against presidential candidate Alahji Atiku Abubakar.

Since being elected as the northern candidate in November by the Northern Political Leader Forum (NPLF), Atiku has received harsh criticism over allegations of illegal activity. Biodun Sowunmi, leader of the Anti-Babangida group said:

“the choice of Atiku is worrisome. Our coalition warns Nigerians and all political parties to be wary of presenting Atiku as a candidate in the next elections.”

Atiku allegedly stole 6 billion naira (source)

Sowunmi’s warning comes with evidence of Atiku’s dodgy dealings.  A 330-page report of the U.S. Senate’s investigation sub-committee, exposed the former vice president and his 4th wife, Jennifer Douglas, as being corrupt with details of them laundering more than 6 billion naira through American banks.

The illegal activity took place between 2000-08 – around the same time that Atiku was vice-president. The report also states how Mrs Abubakar, known by several aliases including Jamila Abubakar, spent the money

“paying credit card bills and household expenses in the range of $10,000 to $90,000 per month, including substantial legal and accounting bills”.

In addition to the illegal money, Atiku also acquired assets such as a $1,750,000 mansion,  under Douglas’ name, in Maryland,  America, just a few months after becoming Vice President.

Sowunmi also said:

“After the embarrassment inflicted on Nigeria by the former Governor of Delta state, James Ibori, who lied to Nigerians…we wish to caution against the nomination of a presidential aspirant who may have to face charges in the USA over the Siemens bribery and corruption scandal.”

Atiku has also been hit with allegations of plagiarism, with two members of the governing party, the PDP, accusing Atiku of copying his manifesto from a former contender for president, David Dafinone. However, Atiku’s presidential campaign organisation has refuted these claims, saying that “they could not even present the so-called Dafonine document.”

The money laundering claims are yet to be denied.

Former dictator loses out in race for presidency

Former military dictator, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), has lost out to Abubakar Atiku to become the northern PDP candidate for the Nigerian presidency.

Atiku was chosen by a committee of 17 to stand for the next presidential elections – to be held early next year. The decision was announced at the Shehu Yar’Adua center in Abuja, yesterday. During his acceptance speech Atiku said:

“I am humbled by this endorsement, and I accept it wholeheartedly, with humility and sense of responsibility. I commend the Consensus Committee for this endorsement and for their sacrifice, their patriotism, their commitment and their integrity.  They have made an important contribution to the unity and stability of this country.”

This news will come as a relief to many who remember Babangida’s numerous human rights abuses during his dictatorship as well as the election he annulled in 1993, when it appeared that he had been beaten by businessman Moshood Abiola. Referring to his leadership credentials the former dictator said: “I have conducted the freest and fairest – and this is attested by the international community – elections in the history of our country. The fact that it was annulled is a different story altogether.”

Babangida wanted another term in power


It seems that Nigeria has had a lucky escape from this clueless tyrant.