The All Progressives Congress, APC, has called on the National Assembly committees probing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to beam their searchlight on the activities of the two companies involved in a crude-oil-for-refined-product barter programme – Taleveras and Aiteo – in view of recent developments concerning the them.
In a statement issued by its interim national publicity secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said the call was necessitated by the fact that the two firms involved in the swap programme, recently submitted the highest and unmatched bid of $2.85 billion for the largest of Shell Nigeria’s four oil blocks slated for sale.
She’ll is selling the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 290 with its 97-kilometre Nembe Creek oil pipeline.
It described as incredulous the fact that the two firms, with a track record as oil marketers (not explorers) of less than five years, could make such a huge bid by simply exchanging crude oil for equivalent refund of petroleum product.
The APC wondered how two companies that were nowhere prior their joining the swap programme, have metamorphosed in just five years to become companies that can buy assets at the huge cost of $2.85 billion.
“Is there a link between this sudden leap in fortunes and the possible underhand dealings in the swap programme, considering they are the two firms involved in the programme?” the Party queried.
It noted that while Nigeria as a country continues to get less and less from the programme, those who service the programme were feeding fat on it.
The APC again wondered: ”Is there any link between the stupendous wealth of these firms and the ever-expanding huge revenue losses going on at the NNPC? And is there a link between the activities of these firms and the alleged missing $20 billion oil funds?”
The party therefore urged the National Assembly committees, including the House committees on downstream, upstream and justice and the Senate Committee on finance to investigate the suspicious rise to wealth of the two companies, as it believes that findings might provide answers to some of the missing monies at the NNPC.
Under the swap arrangement, the NNPC is allocated 450,000 barrels of crude oil per day for refining for local consumption but because the refineries do not have the capacity to refine all the quantity allocated, it swaps it with refined fuel with foreign refineries.
The Senate committee on Petroleum Resources upstream last November commenced investigation on the NNPC over the programme.
The Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI, had accused the Corporation of profligacy, alleging that the country loses an estimated $8 billion annually through the crude oil-for-refined products exchange arrangement.
The committee led by Magnus Abe (PDP, Rivers), however, could not proceed with the investigation as a result of failure of the NNPC to submit relevant documents relating to the transaction requested by the panel.
Only last week, the Senate gave the NNPC a week to provide it with relevant documents on oil sales.