RELEASE NNPC AUDIT REPORT NOW, ANEEJ TELLS JONATHAN
Benin City…..The Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Appropriation and Finance currently probing the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), last week revealed the sleaze around petroleum oil subsidy in Nigeria as the chairman of the committee, Senator Magnus Ibe disclosed that some 100 companies in the downstream sector and in construction, shared over N1.426 trillion between January and August 2011 alone. This is in furtherance of its demand for an audit report which looked into the books last year.
Also, citing a 41-page Audit report on the NNPC, various social and on-line media, have further revealed that the NNPC had ‘deliberately’ turned the corporation into an established drain pipe on the nations’ oil and gas earnings, and an avenue for perpetrating corruption and fraud even as it released a leaked version of the damning Audit report.
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), a Benin City based non-governmental Organisation has raised an alarm on the startling revelations and calls on President Goodluck Jonathan, to as a matter of urgency, officially release the Audit report on NNPC without any further delay to salvage whatever may be left of the administration’s image in the eyes of Nigerians and the international community.
“We have been calling on President Goodluck Jonathan and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to release the Audit report commissioned since July last year but we were not taken seriously. Now look at the startling revelations that keep tumbling in from the Joint Senate Committee sittings probing the operations of the NNPC. This is a national embarrassment,” says the Executive Director of ANEEJ, Rev. David Ugolor.
“We commend the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, particularly the Joint Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Finance and Appropriation carrying out this novel oversight function. We urge them not to be deterred as Nigerians are solidly behind them.” Ugolor said, calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to officially release the NNP Audit report commissioned last year.
“We do not want to take the media version of the report yet that is why we are renewing our call on President Jonathan to do the needful. We learnt that the report has been hidden all these while, this is not good for a country that has signed on to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and was early this year, recognized as EITI compliant country. This is time for Jonathan to act, otherwise, citizens and the international community might be left to believe that his administration is a bed of corruption.” Ugolor asserted.
“As a group, working in the area of revenue transparency over the years which is committed to reversing the resource curse phenomenon of Nigeria, particularly the Niger Delta, we are appalled that Mr. President and the Minister of Petroleum Resources could afford to keep the Audit report on the NNPC under the carpet over the past one year,” adds ANEEJ Policy Officer, Innocent Edemhanria.
“But for the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Executive arm of government would have been carrying on with the sleaze in the NNPC. Nigerians have been vindicated with the revelations from the Senate Joint Committee that government knows those who have been shortchanging Nigerians regarding the fuel subsidy. Yet, they boast of still wanting to proceed with the removal of subsidy. This is a shame.” Innocent Edemhanria emphasizes.
It would be recalled the Federal Government, in July 2010 through the Federal Ministry of Finance, hired KPMG and another Nigerian auditing firm, S.S. Afemikhe & Co, to look into the books of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) following allegations of “wrongful deductions at source by the NNPC to fund its operations” by the 36 state governors.