The Senate, on Tuesday, started a probe into Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s, NNPC, alleged diversion of the dividend of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, to fund petroleum subsidy.
The fund is to the tune of N378 billion
The Senate gave its Committee on Gas, headed by Senator Albert Akpan, the approval to probe the case.
Akpan had sought the permission of the Senate to commence work on the probe and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, gave an express approval.
The commencement of the probe was in fulfillment of Saraki’s promise on Monday.
According to a statement issued by his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said it had become evident that a lot of illegal and unapproved spendings were going on in the petroleum corporation.
Said he: “Let me assure Nigerians that there will be no cover up. We are confident that the ad-hoc committee will do a thorough job. All the issues will be unearthed. That is why when the Senate set up investigative committees on issues, we want Nigerians to have confidence in us that we do not act because we want to embark on a wild goose chase. There must be some serious issues to be looked into. The revelations by the NNPC’s GMD have justified the need for this investigation and they have shown that we are acting in good faith.
“When in my ruling on the motion raised by Senator Olujimi, I insisted that we want a transparent, honest and non-partisan investigation on the fuel subsidy issue, it was clear to me and my colleagues that there are certain irregularities being perpetrated and we should let Nigerians know the truth. That is why we set up the committee in the first place and to demonstrate the seriousness we attach to the issue, we decided that the ad-hoc committee should be led by the Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan.
“We are however shocked that the NNPC’s GMD was claiming that the illegal diversion of dividends from the NLNG which should be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation for the purpose of funding the fuel subsidy was done ‘in compliance with the National Assembly directive that NNPC as the supplier of last resort should, and has, maintained robust petrol supply’.
“So, if the National Assembly called on NNPC to carry out its legitimate duty of ensuring adequate fuel supply to Nigerians, the GMD logically thinks the corporation by that call has the license to perpetrate illegality, spend money without approval and violate appropriation laws. It is my belief that if the National Assembly said the corporation should perform its duty effectively as a supplier of fuel to Nigerians without exposing people to needless suffering, that ought to be done within the ambit of the law.
“This investigation will require the GMD to produce the approval given by the National Assembly and other necessary approving bodies authorising the NNPC to divert the dividend from the NLNG investment, which ought to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund belonging to the three tiers of government, for the payment of fuel subsidy.”