The Federal Government has been called upon to cancel the sale of one of Nigeria’s most prolific onshore oil blocks, Oil Mining Lease (OML) 30, sold by Shell and its multinational partners to Heritage Oil, a British oil and gas company. This was sequel to the revelation that a key player in the deal, Tony Buckingham, the founder, chief executive and leading shareholder of Heritage, boasts a less than salubrious past.
There are also mounting concerns that a man with Buckingham’s reputation could pose a security risk in the already unstable Niger Delta. Prior to his entry into the Nigerian oil and gas sector, Buckingham, a British national, had supplied mercenaries to fight insurgents in Angola and Sierra Leone and had ties to the masterminds behind the coup plot to overthrow the government of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea in 2004.
Reacting to the sale of OML 30 to Buckingham’s Heritage Oil, the President of the Trade Union Congress, Peter Esele, called on President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to do everything in their power to rescind the transaction, pointing out that by the sale, Nigeria had become the “laughing stock in Europe over the deal.”