The chairman of Capital Oil and Gas limited, Andy Ubah has described his arrest by the Department of State Services as a complete attempt to blackmail him.
The oil magnate said the claim by the DSS that he was involved in theft of petrol kept by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in his tank farm in Lagos was a wrong accusation.
The agency on Friday picked up Ubah over his connection with the missing petroleum product, which was valued at over N11bn.
The department said Ubah's action amounted to economic sabotage, with "capacity to negatively impact on national economy".
Reacting, however, in a statement issued on Monday and obtained by DAILY POST, Ubah said his arrest by the DSS was a breach of his fundamental right to liberty, freedom of movement and association.
The statement signed by the management of the company said all the allegations leveled against their boss, Ubah were false and unfounded.
The statement reads in full.
The incarceration of our Chairman by DSS is unlawful, a disregard for the rule of law and a breach of Dr. Ubah's fundamental right to liberty, freedom of movement and association.
A similar invitation was extended to Dr. Ubah on the 24th of March 2017, which he honoured as a law-abiding citizen only to be detained in DSS offices in Abuja for almost a month.
During that period a Fundamental Rights Enforcement Application was brought on behalf of Dr. Ubah at the Federal High Court Lagos as Suit No. FHC/L/C/487/2017.
Although an order was made for his production in court in that action, rather than obey the order, officers DSS, using a combination of coercion and cajoling, constrained him to discontinue that action upon an understanding that he would be immediately released. He was not released until over two weeks after he had complied and completely discontinued that action.
Upon his release on the 13th of April 2017, it was now discovered that during his incarceration he had been coerced into executing various documents committing the company to make certain payments and pledge some assets to NNPC Retail Limited. He was also made to execute a document in favour of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
As soon as his doctors permitted access to him an action was brought at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court seeking, inter alia, an order to restrain DSS and others from further inviting, arresting or threatening to arrest or detain him in regard to the NNPC/NNPC Retail Ltd matters.
The processes originating the new action filed as Suit No. FHC/L/CS/644/2017, were served on the DSS on the 28th of April 2017.
Dr. Ubah's lawyers wrote to the DSS pointing out that any preemption of the judicial intervention during the pendency of the new action is totally irregular, a disregard of the rule of law, the constitutional guarantees of separation of powers and breach of the doctrine of Lis Pendens.
Rather than respect its constitutional and statutory limits the DSS has brazenly abducted Dr. Ubah and commenced a media blitz to justify their illegality.
THE ACCUSATIONS OF THEFT AND ECONOMIC SABOTAGE ARE COMPLETELY FALSE.
For the avoidance of doubt and to put the records straight, NNPC owes Capital Oil & Gas Industries Limited over N16 billion represented as follows:
$5,540,000 (N2.2billion) – unpaid berthing fees for NNPC vessels that called at our Jetty
$2,952,555 (N1billion) – invoice for chartered vessels to carryout STS operations Lagos offshore to ferry product (PMS) to storage at the request of NNPC since 2015
N1.170billion – amount owed to Capital Oil & Gas Industries Limited for throughput services from March to October 2016
N3.146billion – payment made to NNPC for 26,820million litres of PMS vide Pro-forma Invoice No. 53598 which is yet to be delivered to us
N2.0billion – Payment to NNPC in April to facilitate the release of the Managing Director and engender reconciliation which NNPC reneged on.
N6.266billion – N0.80k and N0.40 Jetty Throughput charge on over 7 billion liters dispensed for NNPC by us.
On economic sabotage, it is unimaginable that a company which has stood by NNPC and by extension the country at very critical petroleum supply crises can now be accused of engaging in activities to undermine the effective distribution of petroleum products across the country having thwarted a nationwide industrial action called by oil marketers during the epic inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari.