The National Assembly is investigating allegations of wrong doing in the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the refineries and the crude oil swap deal and has summed the nation’s cash cow to appear before it
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Jul 6, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE National Assembly has resolved to summon the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to appear before its relevant committees. The Senate on Wednesday, June 24, ordered the NNPC to appear before it to explain the state of the nation’s refineries, as well as plans to encourage private ones. Also, the House of Representatives has resolved to investigate alleged malpractices by NNPC on its crude swap policy so as to ensure that the nation’s extractive industries are transparently managed in accordance with global best practices.
Senator Olusola Adeyeye said the Senate would go beyond urging the government to act, and instead hold its ministries, agencies and departments to account. The senate must summon the NNPC as soon as possible to give account of the state of the refineries and other structures under its control, he said adding that it should the government to revamp the existing refineries and encourage the establishment of private ones.
Similarly, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, who sponsored the motion entitled: “Fuel Tanker Tragedies on Nigeria’s Highways” expressed serious concern about the spate of fuel tanker explosions on the nation’s highways. He said the ugly situation raises question about what had become of the rail line project of the immediate past administration, as alternative to highways. “Within the space of one week, four fuel tanker accidents occurred in Nigeria’s two major cities, claiming lives and destroying properties; the first incident was at Onitsha (the commercial nerve centre of Anambra State), which claimed over 70 lives at Upper Iweka. While the inferno raged, men of the Federal Fire Service, FSS, in their typical nature, arrived late at the scene to extinguish the fire.
“As condolence messages were still being expressed to the victims and their families, another accident occurred in Lagos. Here, another tanker conveying 33,000 litres of petrol exploded at Iyana-Ipaja and injured no fewer than 14 persons, gutting about 21 vehicles and razing down 44 shops. As Nigerians were still lamenting the tragedy at Iyana-Ipaja, another occurred at Idimu in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos. The incident destroyed property worth millions of Naira, while no fewer than 34 buildings, 70 shops, one tricycle, one truck and other property were consumed by the fire ignited by the fallen petrol-laden tanker.
“All the fuel tankers lifting fuel from the tank farms along Apapa- Oshodi Expressway have done tremendous damage to the highways, causing deaths, pains and gridlocks on the highways. Time has come for government to seek permanent solution instead of temporal palliatives, as fuel tankers from all states in the North, South-East and South-West states (go) to Lagos to lift fuel and besiege the highways causing the type of tragedies we have recorded recently in Onitsha and Lagos,” Ashafa said. He observed that all the tankers in the country would not have any business going to Lagos to lift fuel, if the refineries were still functional.
Supporting Ashafa, Senator Adeola Solomon Olamilekan suggested that tanker drivers be instructed to only ply the roads at night to prevent accidents.
Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, Michael Enyong raised a motion on the floor of the House entitled: “Urgent Need for a Forensic Investigation of the Contract known as Refined Product Exchange Agreement or Swap Contract.” He noted that the country’s revenues had plummeted due to leakages in the accounting system and mismanagement of the economy. He explained that the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, in its 2011 and 2012 reports had ascertained that there was revenue loss to the tune of $8 billion owing to discrepancies between the value of the crude oil given out and the refined products delivered. “There is the need to ensure Transparency and accountability by the NNPC in the management of revenue accruing to the nation from crude oil, particularly in the prevailing circumstances where major buyer of Nigeria’s crude oil, the US has discovered alternative sources”, he said.
According to Enyong, the investigation is important because due diligence in the management of the country’s revenue will rekindle hope in Nigeria’s creditors about its fiscal capacity to manage its debts and still have resources with which to address it’s macro-economic concerns.
Enyong observed that in 2011, there was a shortfall of 500, 075, 32 litres of refined product under the listed companies: Transfigura 173, 786, 600 litres; Vitol 654, 440 litres; Taleveras 152, 308, 878 litres; Aiteo Ltd 193, 045, 590 litres and Ontario Oil & Gas 180, 278, 732 litres. “There is the need to ensure transparency and accountability by the NNPC in the management of revenue accruing to the nation from crude oil, particularly in the prevailing circumstances where major buyer of Nigeria’s crude oil, the US has discovered alternative sources.”
The lawmaker added that the concerns raised in the motion were in tandem with President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption stance. According to him, the probe was important because due diligence in the management of the country’s revenue would rekindle hope in Nigeria’s creditors about its fiscal capacity to manage its debts and still have resources with which to address its macro-economic concerns.