House of Reps Begin Investigation into Alleged Shady Deals of Oil Companies with NNPC, Threaten to Issue Arrest Warrant on any CEO Who Fails to Appear

…We will order for Arrest Warrant for any chief executive officcer who falls to honour our invitation – Hon. Fulata, Ad hoc Committee Chairman

BY OBUTE JAMES

The Nigeria House of Representatives on Tuesday began Investigative Hearing on the structure and accountability of the Joint Venture (JV) and Production Sharing Contract (PSCs) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, Hon. Abubakar Hassan Fulata who said the investigation is covering the activities of oil and gas companies from 1990 to date, threatened that the committee will order for the arrest earrant of any chief executive officer of the organization who fails to honour their invitation.

He also said the committee will not listen to anybody in a position below that of the chief executive officer in the next investigative hearing.

The House had earlier constituted the ad hoc committee to investigate the NNPC JV and PSCs following a motion that most of the oil companies are not complying with the contract terms.

It was also alleged that most of the oil companies evade taxes and don’t make remittance of money as expected of them,

The IOC also don’t invest any thing in the country as expected of them thereby cheating Nigeria at all levels, THE LEGISLATURE, thelegislatureng.com learnt.

It was further learnt that despite the presidential directive that NNPC should stop payment to the joint venture, the organization has been making payments to the oil companies even when they are not complying with the terms.

Hon. Abubakar Hassan Fulata

Declaring the investigative hearing open, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said The investigation became necessary as there are serious allegations that operations of the joint venture (JV) businesses and production sharing contracts (PSCs) for which NNPC is a party and representing Nigerian interest have over the years been conducted with highest degree of opaqueness to the extent that Nigeria government and her citizens have been deprived of the value of their investment in the oil and gas sector.

He said oil and gas are critical to Nigeria’s economic and social development.

“Oil alone accounts for about 40% of the country’s GDP, 70% of budget revenues and 95% of foreign exchange earnings. This statistics showed that there’s an over reliance on oil and gas for both economic prosperity and infrastructural development of the country. Accordingly, it will amount to administrative recklessness for any sane government to sit aloof and see such a sensitive sector that determines its future existence not being given appropriate attention in the governance process.

“It should be noted that the Joint Venture agreements and the production sharing contracts are supposed to protect the interest of all parties.

“However, there are concerns that these agreements are being observed in branch and that Nigeria is being short-changed.

“Indeed Iam certain that this investigative hearing will be fair to all parties such that the collective interest of all parties will be protected’ he said.

In his opening remark, Hon. Abubakar Hassan Fulata said “I am pleased to welcome you all to this investigative hearing organized by the ad-hoc committee of the House charged with the mandate to do so vide the House Resolution (HR.46/07/2022)

“The ad-hoc committee is charged with the responsibility to principally conduct an investigation into all joint Venture (JV) operations and production sharing contracts (PSCs) in the oil and gas sector since 1990 with a view to ascertaining whether or not the capital expenditure, operations, financials and related frameworks are within the ambit of law.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you may wish to know that S.88 (1) and (2) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria empowers the National Assembly to conduct investigation into the activities of any authority executing or administering laws made by the National Assembly. Accordingly, this investigation will be carried out within the constitutional mandate of the National Assembly as part of its quasi-judicial responsibility to ensure transparency in the conduct of Government businesses.

“In view of the committee’s resolve to conduct the hearing taking into consideration the principle of fair hearing as provided for in section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, the relevant stakeholders were communicated and given ample opportunity and time to forward their memorandum. It is expected that as we proceed into the technical session, the stakeholders will speak to their memoranda in the open glare of the public to guide the committee in arriving at a just and fair decision at the end of the day.

“The thrust of this assignment shall be to critically examine whether the operations of the joint venture businesses and production sharing contracts between the oil companies involved in these arrangements with the NNPC has been conducted within the ambit of the laws and to determine whether the benefits accruable to the Nigeria state has been fair and reasonable. It should be noted that any infractions in the oil and gas business either by the operating companies or individuals within the sector has a corollary effect on the Nigerian economy, therefore, the committee in the conduct of this hearing will not leave any stone unturned as we pledge to act fairly in the best interest of the stakeholders and the Nigerian state.

“At this juncture, I wish to observe that all of us present today at this investigative hearing are stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas project; we all have a collective destiny not only in making the oil and gas businesses to be more beneficial to the Nigerian state but to also bequeath to our future generation a legacy of oil sector that is operated transparently, efficiently and contributing its quota to the economic and social transformation of the Nigerian state. I therefore urge you all to participate fully and disclose all material facts that will aid this committee make appropriate recommendations to the House. Needless to say that the aggregate of all the views expressed, will be reflected on the recommendations of the committee to the House.

“Finally, I wish to thank Mr. Speaker for this opportunity to contribute our quota to a very sensitive sector of the Nigerian economy at a time when the inflow into the federation Account is accelerating down the cliff. We promise to do our best and to make it one of the topmost legacies of your administration.

“On this note, our stakeholders, ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you once more to this investigative hearing.”

The investigative hearing was adjourned to next Tuesday 27, September, 2022.

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