The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, has said that there is nothing else to lose after former president Muhammadu Buhari revoked all the oil and gas logistics contract held by his company, Integrated Logistic Services (INTELS).
Atiku said this while responding to questions on whether he feels threatened that President Bola Tinubu may revoke all his business dealings with the Nigerian government over his role in the controversy surrounding the president’s university certificate.
Atiku made the comment on Thursday at the World Press Conference in Abuja where he appealed for the Supreme Court to defend the ‘reputation’ of the country.
Atiku said, “As you must have read in several other places, I was the founder of one of the biggest oil and gas logistics company since the military era and as soon as Buhari’s government came, even though we had license, we had nothing to do with government. We were only contractors in logistics to the oil companies and not the government.
“But as soon as Buhari came, all those contracts were revoked and taken away from us till today. So, I’m not doing any government business.”
The ex-Vice President had subpoenaed the Chicago State University to release Tinubu’s academic record which was finally released after a series of setbacks.
The document released to Atiku by the university was at variance with the certificate that Tinubu tendered to the Independent National Electoral Commission leading to the Atiku camp and others calling for Tinubu’s resignation.
But the former VP said he has nothing to lose even if his quest to right the wrong fails at the Supreme Court.
He admitted that INTELS had business relationship with the government until 2015 when Buhari won the presidential election.
Atiku said, “Yes, I’m in other businesses- agriculture and manufacturing among others. I’m not scared of any business being taken away from me. It has already been taken from me since the beginning of Buhari’s time, they took it and distributed it among themselves.”
INTELS had signed a contract with the Nigerian Ports Authority which allowed the company to collect revenues for the government in some of the operations of the ports.
In 2017, the Nigerian Government revoked the boat pilotage contract with INTELS with the then Attorney General of the Federation saying the contract violated the constitution.
The company was accused in 2017 of not paying taxes. The company was also accused by the NPA of not remitting an outstanding boat pilotage revenue in the firm’s custody which was $207.6m as at September 30, 2019.
According to NPA, service boat pilotage revenue for January 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020 with INTELS was $97.029 million making a total of $307.67m.
INTELS has denied owing the NPA $145.8m and insisted that the NPA owes it over $750m.
In 2021, INTELS spokesman, Tommaso Ruffinoni, said Atiku exited the company with his family as at December 2020.
It is reported that Atiku sold his shares in INTELS to Orleal Investment Group, the parent company of INTELS for amounts totaling over $100m in the deal that spanned about two years.