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I won’t resign – Atiku • FG closes VP’s firm

Posted by Sam Akpe, Musikilu Mojeed and Isiaka Adams on 2005/12/06 | Views: 483 |

I won’t resign – Atiku • FG closes VP’s firm


The Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Monday said that he would not resign despite intimidation and blackmail against his person and office.

The Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Monday said that he would not resign despite intimidation and blackmail against his person and office.

Describing speculations about his plan to resign as unfounded, Abubakar said that he would serve out his full term in a joint ticket with President Olusegun Obasanjo.

His reaction came amidst indications that the Federal Ministry of Transport has suspended the operations of Intels Nigeria Limited.

The reason for the closure was not given, though sources said it was not unconnected with a petition about the state of the company’s books.

The Vice-President has an interest in the firm, which provides logistics support for shipping companies.

In a statement personally signed by him, Abubakar made allusion to certain documents allegedly circulating in the country linking him and his political associates with “unconstitutional acts.”

“Such unconstitutional acts,” he pointed out, have grave consequences on the stability of the country and his personal safety.

Abubakar noted that by his antecedents and political convictions, he would never be involved in acts capable of derailing the democratic process in the country.

The statement read, “My attention has been drawn to some documents circulating in the country about a purported plan to rope me and some of my associates into certain unconstitutional acts with grave consequences for the stability of our country and my personal safety.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I wish to state unequivocally, that by my antecedents and democratic convictions, I will never be involved in any plot to derail our hard-earned democratic system of government, having uncovered and frustrated a coup plot whose masterminds are already facing legal trial.

“I remain committed and faithful to my Oath of Office to defend and uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“In this regard, anyone purporting to drag my name or office into anything contrary to this oath should be regarded as mischief-maker who does not wish our country well.

“I will also use this opportunity to react to insinuations about my continued role in the present administration. I am committed to serving out our entire term of office as mandated by the Nigerian people when they re-elected President Olusegun Obasanjo and I in 2003, in spite of false insinuations about my imminent resignation.

“Finally, I wish to appeal to Nigerians to remain steadfast and loyal to the Federal Government and Constitution of Nigeria and avoid any acts that could derail our cherished democracy.”

Abubakar had, since the beginning of the year, been in the eye of the storm for his alleged face-off with Obasanjo.

The President had during his monthly Presidential Media Chat in September said that Abubakar was disloyal to him.

The Peoples Democratic Party at its last National Executive Committee meeting in Abuja on November 29, 2005 accused Abubakar of anti-party activities.

The PDP’s National Chairman, Alhaji Ahmadu Ali, in a memorandum to the NEC meeting, said such anti-party activities included the circumstances surrounding the controversy over the re-registration of the Vice-President.

Ali accused Abubakar of being economical with the truth when he said he was not registered.

Another of his alleged anti-party activities is his alleged romance with the Movement for the Defence of Democracy and the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy.

On November 25, the police authorities withdrew the aide-de-camp of the Vice-President, Mr. Abdul Yari Shuyan Lafia.

Though the police said the withdrawal of Lafia was due to unfavourable security reports, Abubakar’s loyalists saw it as another attempt to undermine the Vice-President.

Lafia was Abubakar’s eighth aide to be removed.

In Lagos, our correspondents learnt that the operations of Intels Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of an Italian logistics giant, Intels, at the Onne Port, Rivers State had been suspended by the Federal Government.

By the suspension, the fate of the company’s successful bid for the Onne Federal Lighter Terminal ‘B’, Onne Federal Ocean Terminal ‘A’, Warri Old Terminal ‘A’, Warri New Terminal ‘B’ and Calabar New Terminal ‘A’ is uncertain.

Sources at the Ministry of Transport in Abuja disclosed that the Federal Government’s action was approved through a letter to the ministry.

The letter was said to have cited the need to audit the activities of the company at the port as the reason for the suspension.

But sources contended that the suspension might not be unconnected with the cold war between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Abubakar.

However, a spokesman for Intels, who pleaded anonymity, said that there was no link between the action and the cold war in the Presidency.

He said, “We are doing our job and it has nothing to do with number two.

A senior official of the company, who confirmed the development on Monday, said the management had gone to Abuja to assess the situation and lobby government on the matter.

The official said,“As I am speaking with you, the situation is very uncertain. We are not sitting idly. We are giving it all that it will take, otherwise, millions of dollar investments will go down the drain.”

A spokesman for Intels warned that if the company’s suspension was not rescinded, about 7,000 Nigerians employed by the company would be thrown into the labour market.

Reacting to the development, the Assistant General Manager, Public Affairs, Nigerian Ports Authority, Mr. Chris Borha, said that the authority, which runs many joint venture projects with Intels, had not been briefed.

The latest suspension is the second time that Intels Nigeria (formerly NICOTES) will be running into trouble as a result of the political activities of its founders.

Intels was set up in the late 1980s by the Gen. Shehu Yar’Adua, Abubakar and some Italian partners to offer logistics Services in Nigeria.

In 1996, the company was taken over by a former Head of State, the late Gen. Sani Abacha and his cronies as part of the efforts to cripple Yar’Adua and the Vice-President financially.

The company was returned by the immediate past Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar following a petition by Abubakar after Gen. Abacha’s death in 1998.

The PUNCH, Tuesday, December 06, 2005

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.