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The Oranto Oil saga and the need to protect Nigeria’s interest in Sierra Leone!

The Oranto Oil saga and the need to protect Nigeria’s interest in Sierra Leone!

I learnt from recent publications in the Guardian newspaper of Nigeria regarding Sierra Leone that “there is currently on the table a request by the Sierra Leonean government from Nigeria, for $300 million budgetary support…” If this is true then this may be more the reason for us to be always protecting the interest of big brother Nigeria, especially from the viewpoint of development. (Photo: Pa John Baimba Sesay)

I am saying this because of recent developments in the relationship between Nigeria and Sierra Leone, which from my understanding forced a delegation from the Nigerian government to see His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.

As a person that knows what big brother Nigeria has done in this country, I need not re-echo always how much sacrifice Nigeria had made for the people of Sierra Leone – which from all indications, we have every reason to protect as a nation. The Nigerian Guardian made mention the contentious issue surrounding the Oranto Oil Company operation in Sierra Leone.

We could recall that this company is currently experiencing some problems with regards its oil block in the offshore of Sierra Leone .I have argued on several occasions that the economic and social growth of Sierra Leone should be looked at from a different perspective. I have also pointed that the Nigerians have invested a lot in Sierra Leone.

The Oranto Oil Company is a registered oil company operating in Sierra Leone with chains of other businesses around the world. Its owner is a Nigerian multi-million dollar businessman who wants to also bring massive investment into the country.

The problem now, I learnt  is that the government (through of course some underhand moves at Mines ministry) had taken ten percent of its drilling base (Block 5) and given to an American oil company called Anadaco Oil Company – which means the mining concession of Oranto Oil Company had been tampered into.  And this may not tell well for the cordial relationship that once existed between Sierra Leone and Nigeria.   Oranto Oil Company was earlier allocated an oil block in the country’s offshore terrain, only to see a lucrative part of it slashed off and re-issued to a Spanish company.

The paper I referred to above also reported that President  Ernest Koroma of Sierra one has directed that a letter of unreserved apology be issued to Nigeria following the spate of disparaging remarks by officials of the former country’ that are seen as capable of straining diplomatic relations and that the issue surrounding Oranto shall be given a second thought.

We could recall that this company is currently experiencing some problems with regards its oil block in the offshore of Sierra Leone .I have argued on several occasions that the economic and social growth of Sierra Leone should be looked at from a different perspective. I have also pointed that the Nigerians have invested a lot in Sierra Leone and they still will continue to do so, pending they are not literally ‘chased’ away by some unscrupulous people.

As a matter of fact Sierra Leone as a nation witnessed a very brutal civil carnage that saw the destruction of hundreds of thousands of people. The reasons for that war could be related to political social and economically and honestly from the political perspective, it has been argued that the bad rule of the former APC government largely accounted for that war.

When viewed from the lost of human souls, it is no gainsaying that even other countries suffered during our war as most Nigerians were maimed, killed and some had their hands and legs amputated. You only need to take a look at a video documentary titled; ‘sometimes in Sierra Leone” for you to see the way and manner our fellow African brothers were killed during our civil war. Generally the contribution of Nigeria to the end of Sierra Leone’s civil war could serve as enough justifications to believe that we are all one and the same as far as the continent could go. Yes this is realty.

We need not overemphasize that Sierra Leon largely suffered. In fact the civil war that we experienced led to us being referred to as a ‘failed state’. But today all of that is history, as we have been able to put our heads together and have seen the need to coexist, and it is only hopeful that this will last for ever.

But there is a serious issue that we need not downplay; the efforts of our Nigerian brothers should not be left to go unnoticed; we must be seen giving our best as a reciprocal venture to them for what they did to us when we needed them most.  The interest of Nigeria in whatever shape or form should be protected and this is more the reason we should been seen encouraging them to come and help us achieve our agenda for national development.

Now despite what they went through during our civil war, they have still seen the need to come contribute to the growth of Sierra Leone. I implore on us all to go down town Freetown and take a look at the Banking industry today in our post conflict country. We have seen how foreign banks, especially those owned by Nigerians have helped in re-branding our image as a country and in also tackling the issue of unemployment.  Not only that the Nigerians have also seen the need to come invest in the area of providing us with electricity supply. There was and is still the case of Income Electrix.

During the civil war Nigeria reportedly spent $5 billion to help put our civil war to an end, through its peace-keeping undertakings. In fact over 900 soldiers of Nigeria origin died during our civil war. Not only that we have as a nation continued to receive assistance from Nigeria almost yearly. Can we therefore support and protect them in our SWEET SALONE?

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