Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, yesterday, described as mere fabrication, allegations that she spent N10 billion in leasing jets for personal use.
Speaking with some senior journalists in Abuja, the minister said she was being framed by her accusers for merely rising up to change the Nigerian oil industry for the benefit of the country.
The lease of jets to run the highly technical and competitive oil industry, according to her, is a common practice around the globe, since it is more cost-effective than buying. She said it would be unwise for anyone to spend N10 billion in leasing jets, an amount which can conveniently buy three new jets (depending on the type).
“When I started work as minister, there was an oil aircraft but I was advised not to use it because of safety issues and we had to lease some planes for use. I was advised that it was more cost effective to lease planes for our operations.
“Based on what we were advised, and having added the figures, we felt satisfied it was better to be leasing plane for use. For the N10 billion, one can buy three planes. I don’t know how they came about that huge figure ascribed to me. It is unfortunate for some people to just sit down and accuse people without any fact or figure,” she said.
She lamented the allegation saying the NNPC, under her, had been most transparent since its inception, as she had tried to improve the system of corporate governance in accordance with global best practice.
On the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, the minister blamed it on several factors, among them, key players in the oil industry and vested political interests in the country.