Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Abiola’s family will not be celebrating on June 12.
That day has been declared Democracy Day by the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government, in memory of the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election later annulled by the military.
While Abiola’s children and relatives are still bracing up for the national holiday coming up next Wednesday, the Buhari’s government has hammered them with a big setback.
On Thursday, June 6 the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR finally revoked the oil mining license of Summit Oil International, one of the flagship oil prospecting firms in the country.
The oil block belongs to the family of the business and political icon.
The DPR said it revoked the oil blocks on the order of President Buhari “In furtherance of the presidential directive on recovery of legacy debts owed the federation and in line with the provisions of the Petroleum Act Cap P10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,” it said in a statement.
President Buhari had last year announced its government readiness to withdraw the mining license of notable Nigerians.
Apart from Summit Oil International, other companies affected in the sweep are, Pan Ocean Oil Corporation (OML98); Allied Energy Resources Nigeria (OML120 and 121; Express Petroleum and Gas Company (OML 180 ) and Cavendish Petroleum Nigeria (OML 110).
The DPR said it withdrew the licenses of the firms over debt owed the federal government by the oil prospection companies.
Recall that the immediate past Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachkwu, last February announced the preparedness of the Buhari government to revoke the licences of some oil firms.
Kachikwu had expressed concern that the said companies have failed to make statutory remittances to the government, despite being in Joint operation with the federal government.
According to him, the companies’ deliberate refusal to remit their own counterpart funding had denied the federal government necessary capital to fund development in the country.
In spite of the reason supplied by the government, the revocation was not well received by the family of the late politician and philanthropist.
Even though the family has not reacted to the matter, the magazine learned they are still studying the issue.
Some close relatives told the magazine that the federal government has compounded the problem of the family considering that most of the businesses left by the late politician are not presently doing well.
The family has also been embroiled in serious disputes over the properties left by him.
This is not a good time for the Abiolas: the media business has collapsed, so is the investment in education, as well as property business, sources close to the family said.
“The same people that killed our son are trying to put a finger in his business. The Abiola family has done a lot for the country to be treated in this manner,” one relative said.
The source disclosed to the magazine that “the Buhari’s government is regarded as a friend of the family, particularly after honouring our son by declaring June 12 Democracy Day. But what it has now done left most of us in the family thinking whether it really understands the sacrifice made by Bashorun Abiola.”
Meanwhile the owners of the oil blocks told the magazine that they will challenge the revocation in the court. The aggrieved owners said they were unhappy with the manner the revocation was hurriedly done.