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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 18:09 GMT
Nigeria to review privatisations
Alex Last
BBC News, Lagos

President Olusegun Obasanjo
Privatisation was a central plank of the Obasanjo policy
Nigeria's government has agreed to review all privatisation deals approved by the former president.

The administration of Olusegun Obasanjo, who stood down in May, is accused of failing to follow due process in selling off state assets.

Parliament has been inundated with petitions to review the sell-offs.

President Umaru Yar'Adua has already rescinded the controversial sale of two oil refineries made during the last days of Mr Obasanjo's government.

Multi-million dollar sales

The privatisation of state-owned businesses was central to Nigeria's economic reform programme, initiated by Mr Obasanjo.

President Umaru Yar'Adua
Umaru Yar'Adua was hand-picked by Olusegun Obasanjo

But throughout the privatisation process, there were serious concerns as to how the sales - worth hundreds of millions of dollars - were being handled and who the beneficiaries were.

Now in response to a flood of petitions, the new government, in conjunction with the National Assembly, has said it will launch a full review of the privatisation programme since the start of the Obasanjo administration in 1999.

The decision was taken after a meeting between the vice-president and Nigerian legislators.

To be honest, agreeing to launch an official review is one thing, but it is quite another for a review to actually take place - and for any recommendations to be followed up with action.

Still, earlier this year President Yar'Adua did revoke the controversial sale of two oil refineries made to allies of Mr Obasanjo during his last few days in office.

Interestingly, in the previous administration one of the other key figures in the privatisation programme was the former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar.

That was, at least, until he decided to become an opposition leader and self-styled champion of democracy when he ran for president earlier this year in defiance of Mr Obasanjo's wishes.

Mr Abubakar is currently battling in court to have the election result overturned and give himself another chance of taking charge of the country.

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