NNPC Probe, Missing 149m Crude: CNPP Says Buhari Can’t Probe Self, Calls For Independent Investigative Panel

Amid probe of the alleged loss of over $2.4 billion in revenue from illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil export in 2015 and the the call by the Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) for President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a presidential panel of enquiry to probe allegations that over 149 million barrels of crude oil are missing, as documented in the 2019 reports by the Auditor General of the Federation and Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the Conference Of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has said that such investigation by the current administration will be fruitless.

In a statement signed by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, the CNPP noted that President Muhammadu Buhari cannot probe himself as the Minister of Petroleum Resources since 2015.

While SERAP also urged the President to ensure prosecution of anyone suspected to be responsible for plundering the country’s oil wealth and make full recovery of any proceeds of crime, the House of Reps Committee on Oil Theft is inviting several high-ranking officials over alleged missing 149 million barrels of crude oil in 2019.

But the CNPP maintained that “it will be futile for any citizen or member of the civil society community to get NNPC management team to account for their stewardship or be held accountable for their alleged financial and economic crimes under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration or any All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled government.

“Recall that the CNPP as the umbrella body of all registered political parties and political associations had expressed worries that while oil producing countries globally were experiencing a boost in their revenue generation as a result of increasing international prices of crude oil, Nigeria continued to suffer decline in earnings, had in 2022 reiterated it’s earlier call for the sack of the management team of the newly registered Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Limited), urging President Muhammadu Buhari to replace them with prudent private sector players to save the country’s economy.

“However, President Muhammadu Buhari, as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, has so far refused to take any decisive action against the NNPC management team led by Mallam Mele Kyari whose leadership has wasted more funds and contributed less revenue to the federal treasury than the NNPC under the corrupt Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government which the APC constantly criticised before its members got into office in 2015.

“More worrisome is that the National Assembly progressively failed exercise its oversight powers on the NNPC to serve as clog in the speedy wheels of a strategic corporation managed by very corrupt individuals like the NNPC.

“Nigerians had expected that a Buhari-led administration will end corruption in the country, especially in a government owned corporation or company like the NNPC, but this was not the case in the last eight years.

“While corruption continued to thrive unbridled at the NNPC under Mallam Mele Kyari, the Federal Government of Nigeria opted to continue to borrow money in connivance with a rubber stamp National Assembly, where equally corrupt politicians have retired into as legislators to seemingly help cover the track of serving executives.

“Therefore, only an independent investigative panel under a sincere Executive or Legislature can effectively probe NNPC Limited or any other parastatal or institution of government.

“The CNPP recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari was warned that the transformation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) was an incorporation of corruption, having left the old NNPC management team to manage the new NNPC Limited.

“Since 2015, the National Assembly has attempted to investigate not only the NNPC but several other agencies and parastatals without success.Some of the probes by relevant National Assembly’s investigative committees were either inconclusive or abandoned at the committee stage and when the reports were eventually laid on the floor of the Senate, little or nothing came out of it.

“The list of such adventure by the National Assembly, especially the House of Representatives, is endless but to mention a few: the House in 2019 instituted one of the biggest investigations in terms of monetary value, to probe Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency for allegedly failing to remit revenue totalling N1.343tn to the Federal Government’s treasury.

“Also, on December 17, 2019, the House launched investigation into the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund over alleged illegal expenditures, especially the about N2.3bn spent on staff training without approval.Similarly, on December 11, 2019, the House, began the investigation of the decadence of infrastructure at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports and the roads leading to the ports in Lagos, causing Nigeria to lose N600bn revenue monthly.

“The House on November 27, 2019, also investigated the collapse of the Delta Steel Company built with $1.89bn.

“In the same vein, on November 21, 2019, the House started an investigation of the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency over a contract entered into on behalf of Nigeria with a foreign private company, HLS International Limited, for the supply of certain security and surveillance equipment and systems to the tune of $214,830,000, including $195,300,000 for the actual contract and an additional $19,530,000 NIMASA agreed to pay to HLSI for ‘Management Training Consideration.

’“Time and space will fail us to mention the November 21, 2019 probe into the ‘Turn Around Maintenance’ of the petroleum refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna within four years, costing a total sum of $396.33m and the November 2019 joint Senate and House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission probe of the Federal Government and 17 local and international oil companies over their indebtedness to the NDDC to the tune of N72bn and $73m, while the Federal Government alone owed NDDC N1.2tn, among other inconclusive investigations.

“The CNPP is therefore convinced that the current probe of NNPC Limited and the for investigation of missing 149m crude will equally by fruitless and no person will be prosecuted as demanded by SERAP in the missing crude oil case as President Muhammadu Buhari cannot investigate himself neither can he arrest any loyal member of the ruling APC”, the CNPP stated.

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