Governor of Edo State, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole
By Ejiofor Alike
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has strongly refuted a statement credited to the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, that the corporation owes the Federation Accounts (FACC) N2.3 trillion, describing it as unwarranted and unfounded accusation.
Oshiomhole had during a media chat last Thursday as part of activities to mark Nigeria’s 53rd Independence anniversary, disclosed that states were not able to pay salaries, pensioners and contractors because the NNPC had not been able to remit N2.3trillion owed to FACC for monthly sharing by the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).
But the acting Group General Manager in charge of Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Tumini Green, in a statement at the weekend expressed dismay at what she called “the increasing unwarranted and unfounded accusations against the NNPC by otherwise informed persons in the polity – persons, who, by virtue of their positions in government should know better”.
Green said Oshiomhole’s unfortunate attack was part of a sustained campaign against the NNPC and its leadership in recent times, which was aimed at distracting it from the dogged pursuit of the transformation of the oil and gas industry for the general good of the nation.
She, however, said the NNPC would not be distracted by any campaign of calumny from any quarters.
''We wish to state without any equivocation that we don’t owe the Federation Accounts any money as at today, taking into account outstanding subsidies and other associated costs of operations and loses. We have consistently paid all monies due to the Federation Account (FA) into its Central Bank of Nigeria account as we receive them,” Green said.
She noted that not all revenues collected by NNPC were paid directly into the accounts of the Federation with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Some are paid into the accounts of the relevant government agencies, like the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Department of Petroleum Resources, with the CBN. But eventually all these payments are credited to the accounts of the FAAC,” she said.
Green stated that another important issue which was ignored by critics, whom she accused of reeling out figures without cross-checking, was the outstanding debts owed NNPC by the federal government, especially from subsidy.
"Nigerians may wish to recall that in the wake of January 2012 subsidy saga, there was no budgetary provision for subsidy to NNPC and again in 2013 there was no budgetary provision for subsidy to the corporation. NNPC has not received one kobo from the federal government in the name of fuel subsidy. Yet, Nigerians also know that NNPC has been the major supplier of petroleum products to the nation during this period and before. Indeed, for the whole period that the subsidy saga continued, NNPC was the sole supplier of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) across the country, and we never failed to ensure that every nook and corner of Nigeria was wet with PMS," Green added.
She expressed the determination of the NNPC to ensure that petroleum products were available to move people and goods from one place to the other thus contributing to national economic growth.
She said in addition to these outstanding payments were material loses that the NNPC incurred on almost daily basis from crude oil theft, products theft, pipeline vandalism and other acts of sabotage, stressing that these sad developments were beyond the control of the corporation.
"It is therefore imperative for all state government, local government and authorities at all levels to join the NNPC to stem the incessant tide of crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and other economic sabotage against the nation. That way, more funds will be available to FAAC," she said.
She, however, said the NNPC would not join issues with anyone but would remain resolute in addressing the series of accusation for the purpose of establishing facts for the Nigeria public.
But Oshiomhole had said for the first time since 1999, allocations could no longer be paid as at when due to the states, describing the development as a “financial crisis.”
“So I am hoping that NNPC should wake up and meet its obligation to the Federation Account, otherwise, the integrity of government is at stake. If I can’t keep my promise, Federal Government can’t keep its promise, all other governors can’t keep their promises, the Nigeria electorate will be so disillusioned and it will be a disaster. So I am hoping that NNPC recognizes that it cannot be business as usual and they have few cases to answer as far as I am concerned,” he said.