The Muhammadu Buhari government said it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with relevant authorities to import petrol from Niger Republic.
Although the petroleum ministry said the deal is with Niger, the MoU is actually an agreement between Nigeria and China, Olusegun Bamgbose who leads the Concerned Advocates for Good Governance (CAGG) is alleging.
With its own refineries comatose, Nigeria, one of the countries with the largest oil reserves in the world, exports crude oil and imports petrol.
Between January and August, Nigeria spent a total of N81.41 billion on its refineries, data from the National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) showed. But the facilities refined no drop of crude oil all through this period.
The government’s decision to buy fuel refined at the SORAZ Refinery in Zinder, Niger Republic, has left Nigerians in shock.
Bamgbose is adding to that shock by claiming that the SORAZ refinery, which has an installed refining capacity of 20,000 barrels per day, is actually largely owned by China, a country from which Nigeria has obtained huge loans to shore up President Buhari’s budget deficits.
“In June 2008, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Niger Republic signed integrated upstream and downstream deals in Agadem block which resulted in the building of SORAZ refinery,” Bamgbose said in a statement on Saturday.
“The major shareholder in the refinery is China National Petroleum Corporation with 60% shareholding and Niger Republic has 40% shareholding.
“In essence China facilitated the MoU because of their interest. This is certainly one of the hidden conditions given to Nigeria in order to secure Chinese loans.
“One can equally remember that FEC in September okayed $1.96bn for proposed rail contract from Kano to Niger Republic. We secured the loan from China and it’s also the Chinese company that will be in charge.
“This government should stop fooling Nigerians. Much has it will have economic benefits, but Nigerians should not forget that this is neocolonialism cropping up.
“The fear is that China may soon take over the machinery of government in Nigeria. This latest MoU may very clearly be a big obstacle to Dangote Refinery. Nigerians have not been told about the duration of the MoU signed.
“China has bought over the Executive and the National Assembly. This is very dangerous. It’s most likely that China may equally play a leading role in who becomes the President in 2023.
“Except something is done promptly, Nigeria may one day be like Hong Kong to China,” he said.