A failed abduction bid of the immediate past Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr. Joi Nunieh, by some armed security forces linked to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, is threatening to harm Nigeria’s economy.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State says he rescued Nunieh, an Ogoni, from an attempted abduction, warning that such a sinister motive will not be tolerated in the strategic oil and gas state.
In a bid to contain the likely unpleasant consequences of the abduction bid, Governor Wike wants the Police top chief to investigate the circumstances that led to over 50 armed policemen storming the Port Harcourt residence of Nunieh at 4 a.m on Thursday, July 16, 2020.
” So, tell me how something will happen in a state and the Commissioner of Police is not aware. They said it’s the Inspector General Monitoring Unit.
‘’So, we have such a Unit taking over the responsibility of crime-fighting in a state and the Commissioner of Police is not aware. I can also assume too that the Inspector General of Police is not aware.
‘’He should investigate it”, says Wike, a tough Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor.
The combative Governor Wike has also called on the other eight governors of states that make up the NDDC to ensure that their citizens do not have a hand in the planned abduction of the former NDDC big boss.
The nine member-states of the NDDC are: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, and Rivers. By implication, if any of their citizens were involved in Nunieh’s failed abduction bid, it could spark inter-ethnic conflict in the Niger Delta, a vastly polluted oil and gas region.
Before the current relative peace in the creeks of the oil region, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) reported that Nigeria lost 643 million litres of crude oil or N51.28 billion as a result of 3,000 incidences of pipeline vandalisation in 2015.
Between 2010- 2015, the national oil corporation recorded 18,000 incidences of pipeline vandalisation while the figure for January to May, 2016, was not less than 1,447 incidents leading to loss of 109 million of litres of petroleum products and 560,000 barrels of crude oil to refineries.
In 2016 a total of 1600 incidents of pipeline vandalisation was recorded in two months as against 3000 in 12 months of 2015. The record of 3000 pipeline vandalisation shows a monthly average of 250 incidences as against an average of 800 incidents recorded between January and February, 2016.
The 2015 International Monetary Fund (IMF) report showed that Nigeria dropped from 1st to 2nd position as the largest economy in Africa with a GDP of $296 billion while South Africa with a GDP of $ 301 billion rands ranked the first position in Africa.
Activities of armed rebel groups in the oil region easily affect the country’s economy. Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola, in August, 2016, disclosed that power dropped from 5074mw in February, 2016 to 2000mw due to militant attack on Forcado subsea pipeline power generator.
This drastic drop in power supply negatively affected power distribution throughout the states of the federation and had a negative impact on the industries due to increased operational overhead cost from powering of the industrial plants with diesel.
Those who know better say hostage-takings by the militants and political instability are injurious to the economy, as it induces capital flight or slows foreign direct investment. Capital flight has a multiplier effect on an economy.
While it impedes business investment, economic growth and productivity, spur inflation and unemployment and negatively affect the living standards of the people, political instability negatively affects national income.
Arguably, when investors, individuals in the society perceive the crises as a serious threat to their investment and savings, they will sell off their assets and buy assets in other politically secure and stable societies.
In February 2006, it was reported that most expatriates refused to be posted to riverside oil fields. As a result, much money was spent on the provision of security. This increased the overhead cost by the oil companies.
In the first year of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the country’s unemployment figure rose to 22.45million, as job loss hit 710,693. In 2016, oil output dropped to 295million barrels in five months with a shortfall of 36.15million barrels or 10.91% from 331.24 recorded in the proceeding five months of August- December, 2015.
January – May 2016 output translated to an average daily crude output of 1.97million barrel per day, according to data released by the NNPC, a clear reflection of production shut-ins following increased militancy siege on oil installations.
United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) had put the average crude oil price for the first five months of 2016 at $37.882 per barrel, compared to an average of $44.97 per barrel in the last five months of 2015. This meant that Nigeria earned around $11.18 billion in the first five months of 2016, an equivalent of N2.2 trillion using the official exchange rate of N197 to a dollar as at that period.
However, Governor Wike said he was on ground to frustrate the attempted abduction, and berated the ‘self-styled’ armed policemen who claimed to be members of the Inspector General Monitoring Unit.
According to Wike, ‘’under a civilised society, the proper thing to do is to invite her to answer any allegation. To storm her residence at such an unholy hour, the governor said, suggests some sinister motive that should not be tolerated.
“What has happened today (Thursday) is a disgrace. Who knows what would have happened to her if they had gained access to her main room. I went there personally to see things for myself and rescued her. She is supposed to testify before the House of Representatives Committee and here we are having armed men wanting to abduct her.
“We came out to protect our daughter and we will do so to every Rivers citizen. That is the oath of office I swore to. It doesn’t matter the political affiliation. We will not allow anybody to destroy Rivers state. It is so unfortunate and I cry for this country concerning the ways things are going. They didn’t have a warrant of arrest, but would storm somebody’s house? In fact, the State Commissioner of Police is not
“If there is any allegation of crime against her, I will not back her, but you can’t kill her for no established crime. I don’t know who’s responsible, but whoever is behind it should not take Rivers state for granted because we will fight back.
“From what has happened now, I want to say that Rivers State is fully out. Anybody who is responsible for this attempted abduction of our daughter should know that enough is enough. They can’t treat her like a common criminal. I am sure that President Buhari is not aware of this.
“All the Niger Delta states should find out if any of their citizens have a hand in the unfortunate incident and call on such people to leave our daughter alone. She is no longer the Managing Director of NDDC. The way things are going now, it seems people want to destroy Rivers State and it is unacceptable.
“Using the police to carry out the abduction of citizens should not be encouraged. A similar incident had happened in this state before when they wanted to use the same style to abduct a serving Judge.’’
Nunieh who thanked the governor for coming to her rescue said the armed policemen came about 4am, broke into her premises but were stopped by the security door leading to her main room.
“Those who told me the Commissioner of Police downstairs lied because it was his deputy that actually came. I opened the door, and they wanted to grab me, I now pushed back the door and locked it and went upstairs.
“So, my governor came, asked them for the warrant of arrest, and why they did not invite me to the police station instead of attempting to abduct a woman like a criminal. He took me away in his car and I am taking refuge in Government House. I want to thank His Excellency for keeping to his word that nothing should happen to the daughter of Rivers State.
Nunieh said she was supposed to be in Abuja that Thursday to make her submission before the Committee of the House of Representatives, adding ‘’I am sure the motive was to stop me.”