Fred Itua, Abuja
A joint National Assembly committee on Niger Delta, yesterday, summoned 17 oil companies over N72 billion and $273 million debts to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The summon was issued by chairman of the committee, Peter Nwaboshi, at the end of interactive session with NDDC, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Union Bank of Nigeria.
Some of the oil companies involved are Shebah Express Petroleum, Atlas Petroleum, Allied Energy, Frontier Oil, Seven Energy Limited, Belma Oil Producing Limited, AITECO Exploration and Production, Dubri Oil, Conoil Producing, and Continental Oil and Gas.
Others are Enageed Resources Limited, New Cross Exploration and Production, Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Petroleum Development Resources. Munipulo Petroleum Development Company, Prime Exploration and Production Company and Nigeria LNG Limited.
The oil companies are expected to appear before the joint committee next Wednesday.
Nwaboshi said the companies were invited to explain why they were not obeying the law.
“We have invited all oil companies indebted to NDDC to come and tell lawmakers why they will not obey the law of the country. Some of them have confirmed that they are owing NDDC.”
He added that Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd (NPDC) was owing N54 billion as at when the last calculation was done, Allied $43 million and Pan Ocean $46 million.
He also revealed that the Federal Government is owing NDDC over N1 trillion.
Nwaboshi, who expressed dissatisfaction with failure of oil companies to pay NDDC, said the Senate made efforts in the past to ensure prompt payment of money meant for the Commission.
He accused the oil companies of not disclosing their real budget, saying most oil firms tamper with their annual estimates.
On directives from President Muhammadu Buhari about the forensic audit of NDDC, Nwaoboshi said the panel has also resolved to do a full audit of the Commission.
He also revealed that the committee discovered money meant for NDDC in the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), adding that it was wrongly credited into the account. The committee has mandated the CBN to return the money into NDDC’s account.