Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Solomon Adeola
By Onwuka Nzeshi
The House of Representatives has summoned the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over a N7 billion revenue shortfall which allegedly occurred in 2006.
The House also condemned the recent oil spill that occurred at a Mobil facility in Akwa Ibom State.
Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Solomon Adeola, who disclosed this Monday, said the committee has equally queried other agencies in the petroleum sector including the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum and Pipelines Marketing Company (PPMC), Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources over the issue.
He said the Public Accounts Committee would also conduct a comprehensive investigation into the operations of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) to ascertain its status in terms of revenue remittance to the government.
According to Adeola, preliminary investigations have shown that the NLNG hadnot remitted any revenue into government coffers since it commenced operations in the country about seven years ago.
The lawmaker alleged that there had been several discrepancies in revenue accruing from oil and gas, adding that the 2013 budget proposal currently before the National Assembly does not reflect revenue expected from gas resources.
Adeola disclosed that the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation had been doing a lot to track government revenue but needed to gain financial autonomy to do more.
The Public Accounts Committee, he pledged, would do everything within its powers to ensure that the Auditor Generals Office was placed on first line charge and draws its budget directly from the Federation Account.
On the ongoing constitution amendment, Adeola disclosed that Alimosho Federal Constituency which he represents had demanded for the creation of two additional local governments councils but had kicked against the creation of more states in the country.
The people of Alimosho Federal Constituency have also rejected the proposed creation of constitutional roles for traditional rulers.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, House Committee on Environment, Hon. Uche Ekwunife, who commented on the issue Monday, said the frequency of spills around Mobil’s Qua Iboe facility has become worrisome and called for tougher environmental laws and sanctions.
Ekwunife lamented that in spite of these frequent spills and its resultant damage to the environment in the Niger Delta, multinational oil companies have continued to operate with impunity and without being penalised.
“I condemn unequivocally and in strong terms the recent oil spill from Mobil facility in Akwa Ibom. The frequency of the spills around Mobil’s Qua Iboe facility has become worrisome and calls for tougher environmental laws and sanctions. There is no arguing the fact that the frequent spills damages the environment and impoverish the fishermen who depend on the water for their source of livelihood.”
Mobil must therefore accept full responsibility for the spill; speed up re- mediation and restoration processes as well as offer immediate relief materials and compensation to the impacted people and communities,” she said.
Ekwunife said that recently the sum of $4.8 billion was approved by an American court as compensation to families of eleven victims of oil spill in the United States.
According to the lawmaker, such a penalty should serve as a signal that the case of frequency of Spills in Akwa Ibom and the Niger Delta should no longer be handled with kid gloves as human life and the ecosystem are adversely impacted at each spill site.
She pledged that the House Committee would monitor closely the process of clean up and re-mediation of the impacted areas.