Although meant as a cautionary note, the statement put out by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on August 27, that about 98 per cent of documents involved in the sale of crude oil was fake aptly captures the ugly reality of the goings-on at the corporation.
NNPC’s Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division, Mele Kyari, had let it be known that the corporation does not sell crude oil from hotel rooms, warning would-be crude oil buyers to be mindful of the activities of local and international fraudsters who – from the cosy comfort of hotel rooms and apparently using the corporation’s symbols and other insignia – have perfected the practice of luring unsuspecting victims with higher discount offers on cargoes, offers of non-OPEC crude specification, crude allocation, crude oil sale letters and all manner of mouth-watering offers.
For a state oil corporation struggling valiantly to clean up its image and reposition itself as one worthy of public trust, we consider the statement as both timely and appropriate. In the age of scammers and briefcase-carrying businessmen, the effort, more like pushing the reset button, seems the least the corporation could do to reassure its publics – internal and external – of a desire to turn a terrible situation around. What is perhaps unhelpful is the attempt by the corporation to pass the situation off as an exception. Had the corporation cared to look inwards, not only would it be less sanguine about its pretentions, it would certainly discover how much the practice which it so stridently denies is more or less the rule – hence that those who describe the rot as deep and pervasive do not exaggerate.topics from