6 January 2014

Nigeria: U.S.$10.8 Billion Oil Revenue - Leadership Insists On Answers

In its firm resolve to ensure that the issue of the unremitted crude oil money is not swept under the carpet, LEADERSHIP has again written to the National Assembly (NASS), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), insisting that they provide details that would answer the lingering questions over the matter, under the provisions of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011.

These letters, which serve as reminders to the institutions, became necessary following their failure to respond to the initial letters written over two weeks ago.

In the earlier letter to the president of the Senate, David Mark, dated December 17, 2013, LEADERSHIP requested copies of reports of all previous public hearings on the oil and gas industry by the upper house.

In a similar letter to the speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, LEADERSHIP also requested copies of reports of all previous public hearings on the oil and gas industry by the house.

From the CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, LEADERSHIP asked for a copy of his correspondence with the NNPC and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

From the NNPC, LEADERSHIP is requesting such documents as the Audited Group Accounts of the corporation in the last five years, audited accounts of all subsidiaries of the NNPC over the last five years, details of remedial measures taken by the NNPC in response to all audits of the oil and gas sector conducted under the auspices of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) since 1999. The media house is also seeking to know steps that the NNPC is taking to improve transparency and accountability to stakeholders.

Though all the initial letters were received by the Senate, House of Representatives, CBN and NNPC, no response has been received from any of them either acknowledging the letter or providing the information so requested, thus prompting the need for the reminders.

In the second letter to the CBN, which was received on January 3, 2014, LEADERSHIP wrote: "We wish to refer to our letter dated December 17, 2013, in which, under the Freedom of Information Act, we requested clarification on the alleged non-remittance of $49.8 billion to the Federation Account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as per your correspondence with His Excellency President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

While we acknowledge that there has been some reconciliation bringing the figure for the unremitted amount down to $10.8 billion of the original $49.8 billion, we shall be pleased to have your official response to our letter."

A similar letter to the NNPC was also received January 3, 2014.

A letter to President Jonathan by the CBN governor alleged the non-remittance of $49.8 billion to the Federation Account by the NNPC.

In view of the public outrage that greeted the claim, LEADERSHIP devoted a front page comment to the issue in its Monday, December 16, 2013, edition, in which it promised its readers that it would not relent until satisfactory explanations are in the public domain. In addition, the media house called on the NASS to commence impeachment proceedings against President Jonathan if there was no satisfactory response from him one week after publishing the editorial.

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