Reps Invite Ministers, Firms Over $2.4bn Oil Sale
The House of Representatives’ will on April 11, 2023, grill ministers and other heads of ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government as well as oil companies and banks over the alleged illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil valued at $2.4bn.
The House’ Ad Hoc Committee to Investigate Alleged Loss of Over $2.4bn in Revenue from Illegal Sale of 48 Million Barrels of Crude Oil Export in 2015 Including All Crude Oil Exports and Sales by Nigeria from 2014 Till Date is handling the probe.
The committee, in a notice to the invitees on Monday, also demanded memoranda from whistle-blowers who’s alarm had led to recovery of public funds from corrupt individuals and organisations.
The committee invited 100 individuals, organisations and groups, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited; Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPCL; Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Attorney General of the Federation; Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation; Central Bank of Nigeria; Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission; Chief Executive, NUPRC; former Chairman, Presidential Committee on Recovery of Missing Crude Oil; former Director-General, DSS, Lawal Musa Daura; Department of State Services; Nigeria Police Force; INTERPOL National Central Bureau, Nigeria, among others.
The oil and telecommunication firms as well as banks for appearance include Dangote Industries Limited/Dangote Refinery; MTN Nigeria Limited; 9Mobile Nigeria Limited; Airtel Nigeria Limited; United Bank for Africa; Guaranty Trust Bank; Access Bank; Ecobank; Fidelity Bank; and Zenith Bank; Famfa Oil Limited; Seplat Petroleum; Addax Petroleum; Total Energies; Chevron; Shell (SNEPCO & SPDC); Sahara Energy Resources; Conoil; AITEO; Agip/NAOC; Heirs Petroleum; ExxonMobil/ESSO Petroleum; Oando; Oriental; SAPETRO and all other JV, PSC and marginal field operators.
Other top government officials have also been invited.
The notice partly read, “In the unlikely event that formal correspondence from the committee does not reach any of those listed above, please consider this publication as a formal invitation to the public hearing.
“Individuals, agencies, civil society and non-governmental organisations, companies and all other entities who are privy to or have provided whistle-blower information to the Nigerian Government about corruption and proceeds of corruption (whether or not such information has led to recovery by the government) are also, hereby, requested to submit memoranda with the following information to the committee’s secretariat:
The committee had held an investigative hearing at least twice during which invitees, including the Nigeria Police Force and INTERPOL we’re grilled.
The Chairman of the committee, Mark Gbillah, who was contacted on the telephone on Monday, said the panel had not been officially inaugurated as Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, was not available to declare the hearing open.
Gbillah said the Speaker would now inaugurate the committee on April 11.
When asked of the possibility of the committee concluding the investigation before the 9th National Assembly winds down in June, the chairman disclosed that the probe might be continued in the 10th Assembly.
He said, “Yes, we believe we have enough time to look at the critical issues. But anything outstanding – that is why government) is a continuum – we can always make a recommendation in the report that the next House should take over from here and there. But it is too-important an issue for us to not try to conclude on.”
The House had on December 20, 2022, resolved to constitute an ad hoc committee to investigate a whistle-blower’s allegation of illegal sale of 48 million barrels of Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude in China in 2015 and the insurance status of the cargo.
The committee was also to investigate all crude oil exports and sales by Nigeria from 2014 to date, with regards to quantity, insurance, revenue generated, remittances into the Federation Account or other accounts as well as utilisation of the revenue for the period under review.
In addition, the panel would investigate all proceeds recovered through the Whistle-Blowers Policy of the regime led by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the level of compliance with the policy.
The committee was to report back within four weeks for further legislative action.
Taraba House Of Rep Member-Elect Dies
The House of Representatives member-elect for Jalingo/Yorro/ Zing Federal Constituency Taraba State, Hon. Isma’ila Yushua Maihanchi, is dead.
Maihanchi died in the early hours of Saturday after a brief illness at an undisclosed hospital in Abuja.
An aide to the late member-elect said he will be buried according to the Islamic rites today at the national cemetery in Abuja.
FG Laments Plight Of Nigerians In Sudan, Says ‘Any Flight Now Is Gravely Risky’
The Federal Government has expressed worry over its inability to evacuate Nigerians in Sudan as a deadly crisis continues to plague the North African nation.
The Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed Friday evening on Twitter that efforts had been put in place by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Nigerian Mission in Sudan.
She however noted that the authorities were experiencing challenges, particularly with regard to airlifting Nigerian nationals out of the troubled country.
“While @nemanigeria and the Nigerian Mission in Sudan have put in place necessary arrangements, any flight now is gravely risky,” Dabiri-Erewa tweeted.
“Airlines on ground at the airport were all burnt today, there is a curfew in place and no flights can operate.”
The NIDCOM boss added that humanitarian groups were making efforts to distribute food, water, and medicals, while all efforts were being put in place to hopefully get the warring parties to ceasefire.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our citizens there, and the whole country,” she said.
The country is experiencing hostilities owing to two warring generals who seized power in a 2021 coup: army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
Amid the crisis, Nigerian students in Sudan cried out to be evacuated from the in-crisis country.
In response, NIDCOM on Thursday revealed that plans were already underway to see to the evacuation of Nigerians in Sudan, saying meetings were being held as to how best to handle the evacuation process.
FG Strategises On Subsidy Removal Without Disrupting Livelihoods
As the energy industry prepares for the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit otherwise known as petrol, the Federal Government says with consideration and possible action, the policy will have a human face.
Reacting to concerns over a continued regulated downstream oil sector, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Amb. Gabriel Aduda, on Friday, stated that a lot of consideration is ongoing to buffer what may be a possible shock with subsidy removal.
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari suspended that part of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) for 18 months, and will effectively expire in June of this year.
“Subsidy removal is one that has been with us for a long time and I want to tell you that my minister is taking it very seriously – and all of us in the industry – because we totally understand the importance of the removal of subsidy,” Aduda said.
“But we also understand the greater importance of the citizens in the scheme of things. And as we speak, we’re still taking a very close look at how best to achieve subsidy without disrupting the entire ecosystem of livelihoods in Nigeria because that is our responsibility as government.”
According to him, buffers need to be in place to ensure that forex is made available for those that will do imports as well as some form of reinforcements where needed.
“There is quite a lot we need to put in place. And we also have to ensure that supplies are available for a minimum of six months ahead to ensure that, if we finally do that, the disruptions will be minimal.
“When looking at all of that, there are quite a number of factors that we need to look at. But yes, government is committed to removal, but we can’t be too specific until all the indices have been considered to ensure that the effect is not too hard on the average Nigerian,” he added.