House Probes $22bn Brass LNG Project


James Emejo in Abuja

The House of Representatives Thursday passed a motion to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the expenditure and implementation of the $22 billion Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) Brass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.

It expressed grave concern over the state of affairs surrounding the gas project following several allegations of abuse and mismanagement of funds totaling about $22 billion meant for take off and running of the Brass LNG project.

The resolution followed a motion moved by Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) on the urgent need to investigate the matter.

According to the lawmaker, the Brass LNG project was originally set up in 2003 with NNPC owning 49 percent and other affiliates namely, Conoco Phillips, ENI and Chevron holding 17 per cent each.

However, he said the project had been stuck in the planning stages for more than a decade, with some Western partners having pulled out because of tough operating conditions and an unfavorable investment environment.
Chinda, further drew attention to the provisions of Section 88(l)(a), (b)(i)&(ii) and (2)(b) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) which confers each House of the National Assembly power to conduct or carry out investigations into matter(s) of similar nature.

He further recalled Recalls that the Senate in January 2018, raised an alarm over massive fraud in the NNPC as it relates to the Brass LNG project and voted to investigate same, but nothing happened thereafter.

He argued that the federal government’s investment in the project was too enormous to be treated with kid gloves, swept under the carpet or simply put aside with a wave of the hand.

He said unless the issue was urgently investigated, the essence of the fight against corruption would be defeated and the Nigerian economy, particularly the teeming Nigerian masses would be worse for it.

Meanwhile, member representing Barkin Ladi/Riyom Federal Constituency of Plateau State, Hon. Istifanus Gyang yesterday made a passionate appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to deploy security agencies to curtail ongoing crisis and prevent the constituency from being annihilated by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

His appeal brought on the House floor under personal explanation could not be debated due to established House rule given that it’s not a motion.

Nevertheless, the lawmaker said about 45 villages in the constituency had been forcefully sacked and converted into a cattle colony by the Fulani herdsmen.

He also pleaded with to the National Assembly to save the remaining villages from being overrun by the attackers, adding that killings were still continuing in the area.

He said recently two Paramount Rulers in the Barkin Ladi-Ryom Federal Constituency narrowly escaped being lynched while a palace was completely torched and the other ransacked.

He said he was using the opportunity to send a save our souls (SOS) message to the president to immediately intervene to save the situation and prevent his “people from being wiped out from the face of the earth.”
Gyang described his people as a “small ethnic group in Nigeria, and if nothing is not urgently done, this would lead to our final extinction of due to incessant daily attacks in the area.”