In a daring move, former presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar calls on President Bola Tinubu to provide transparency regarding the $3.3 billion emergency crude repayment loan secured by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) on August 16, 2023. Atiku raises concerns over the lack of public information, emphasizing the need for clarity in managing the country’s financial resources.
The transaction, orchestrated by the African Export-Import Bank to fortify the naira and stabilize the foreign exchange market, is shrouded in mystery. Atiku highlights that the deal involves a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) named Project Gazelle Funding Limited, incorporated in the Bahamas, raising questions about the choice of jurisdiction.
The former presidential candidate points out the lack of transparency in the deal, demanding answers from the Federal Government on critical aspects such as loan access, approval by the National Assembly, parties involved, loan conditions, tenor, repayment terms, collateral, and interest rate.
Atiku expresses bewilderment over the Bahamas connection, given the country’s recent scandal involving the Paradise Papers. The deal, as outlined in the Project Gazelle agreement, entails Nigeria supplying 90,000 barrels of its daily production, starting in 2024, for the repayment of the loan. The estimated repayment amount of $12 billion raises eyebrows, creating a significant differential of about $7 billion from the details initially presented.
In challenging the integrity of the deal, Atiku insists that the Federal Government must provide a comprehensive response to these questions, urging transparency and accountability in national financial dealings. The call resonates with the need for openness in managing large-scale transactions involving vital national assets like crude oil.