From Ndubuisi Orji and Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
As the House of Representatives, yesterday, began investigation into the alleged $17 billion undeclared stolen crude oil and Liquefied Natural Gas, Speaker Yakubu Dogara said the unbridled the loss of revenue in the nation’s oil sector was unacceptable.
Dogara who spoke when he declared open the inaugural sitting of the House Ad-hoc Committee in Abuja, yesterday, said in recent years, over $40.266 billion and N196 billion revenue had been lost in the oil and gas sector of the economy.
These, according to him, included over $4.4 billion said not to have been remitted into the federation account involving some international oil companies (OICs) and $12.9 billion revenue accrued from Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) company collected by Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) since 2009, $5.966 billion and N20.4 billion revenue allegedly lost in the offshore processing agreement among others.
“The incidence of money missing in the industry has become a recurring decimal to the point that news items in the national dailies are incomplete without reports on one fraudulent activity or the other in the sub-sector, which incidentally is the mainstay of the economy. The reporting of the media on the ills of the industry clearly attests to the concern of Nigerians on the need to tackle the problem headlong.
“Repeatedly, the nation has received disturbing audit reports of one of the nation’s gate-keeper in the extractive industry against the national oil conglomerate and some international oil companies (OICs) where it was alleged that an amount totalling over $4.4 billion was trapped somewhere, instead of remitting them into the Federation Account,” Dogara said.
Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Abdulrasak Namdas Namdas flayed the absence of heads of some government agencies, invited for the public hearing.
He gave a 24-hour ultimatum to the Accountant General of the Federation (AG), Ahmed Idris, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, NNPC Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside to appear before the Committee.
Also expected to appear are the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu and the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Waziri Adio, Modecai Ladan, Director of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the management of National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS).
He said preliminary investigation by the Ad-hoc committee revealed that over 57 million barrels of crude oil from Nigeria were illegally exported and sold in the United States of America (USA) between January 2011 and December 2014.
“The estimated revenue loss by the government of Nigeria is around $12,722,600,327, which at an exchange rate of N196/$1 translates to over N2 trillion.
“The corruption in the oil industry fundamentally distorts public policy, creates misappropriation and misapplication of resources, vitiates public sector and private sector development and over and above all, it undermines good governance and ultimately hurts the poor most.”