19 November 2012

Nigeria: Falana Urges Nass to Reject FG's U.S.$7.9 Billion Loan Request

Lagos — The National Assembly has been called upon not to approve the $7.9 billion being requested by the Federal Government to fund certain projects within the next two years.

In a letter by a Lagos lawyer and rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, to the President of the Senate, David Mark, he said that rather than embarking on borrowing, a team of progressive lawyers are being mobilized to assist the relevant agencies of the Federal Government in ensuring that all outstanding funds payable to the Federation Account from the oil sector are recovered while the culprits are brought to book without any delay.

Urging the National Assembly not to approve the request for the foreign loan, Falana said, "the Federal Government should be advised to collect the several billions of dollars which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and a number of oil companies have refused or failed to remit to the Federation Account in violation of the provisions of Section 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended."

He said, from the reports of the committees set up by the Federal Government to investigate the oil sector, it showed that there were monumental frauds in the sector, adding, "contrary to the earlier official figure of N1.3 trillion, the Accountant -General of the Federation put forward a figure of N1.6 trillion, the CBN N1.7 trillion while the Committee established subsidy payment of N2,587.087 trillion as at 31st December, 2011 amounting to more than 900 per cent over the appropriated sum of N245 billion.

"This figure of N2,587.087 trillion is based on the CBN figure of N844.944 billion paid to NNPC, in addition to another figure of N847.9426 reflected as withdrawals by NNPC from the excess crude account, as well as the sum of N894,201 billion paid as subsidy to the marketers.

The figure of N847.942 billion quoted above strongly suggests that NNPC might have been withdrawing from two sources especially when the double withdrawals were also reflected both in 2009 and in 2010, he said.

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