The National Assembly will begin probe into the N72 billion and $73 million being owed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by 17 local and international oil companies operating in Nigeria.
To this end, the joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on NDDC has invited the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris and the Auditor General of the Federation, Anthony Ayine to appear before the lawmakers and explain steps taken to ensure payment of the debts by the oil companies.
Also invited are Shebah Express Petroleum, Atlas Petroleum, Allied Energy, Frontier Oil, Seven Energy Limited, Belma Oil Producing Limited, Aiteo Exploration and Production, Dubri Oil, Conoil Producing, and Continental Oil and Gas.
Others are Nigeria LNG Limited, Enageed Resources Limited, New Cross Exploration and Production, Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, Munipulo Petroleum Development Company, and Prime Exploration and Production Company.
“We are expecting the IOCs and other oil companies to come by Wednesday next week to tell Nigerians why they have blatantly refused to abide by the laws of the nation. I can assure you, we will recover every dime due to the NDDC,” the Chairman of House Committee on NDDC and Co-chairman of the joint committee, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, told journalists in Abuja on Monday.
According to the lawmaker, records have shown that the affected oil companies jointly owed the NDDC a total sum of N72bn and $73m, while the Federal Government alone owed N1.2tn.
Tunji-Ojo said: “These companies we are investigating owe the NDDC huge sums of money, which when remitted, would improve the fortune of the people of the Niger Delta area. By the records we have, a company like Shell Petroleum Development Company owes more than N54.9bn.
“We also have it on good authority that Pan Ocean owes as much as $46.6m, while Allied Energy is indebted to the tune of $43m; and Shebah Express Petroleum owes as much as $23.8m and then, Atlas Petroleum owes $22m.
“The 9th National Assembly cannot afford to sit and watch oil companies deny the NDDC of its statutory revenue from firms operating in the country. The 8th National Assembly did a technical audit of the NDDC and the findings were very revealing, and we must recover these monies.
“It is even believed that some of these oil companies do not give the actual annual budget. Some of them are alleged to be tampering with their annual budgets and in fact, some are said to be paying the actual expenditure or stop-gap whereas as the law provides that it should be the annual budget.
“Even the ones that they were supposed to pay, they never paid. That is why the NDDC consultants have been going after them, yet they have refused to pay. We have mandated the Central Bank of Nigeria to send the money wrongly credited to the Nigerian Ports Authority, to the rightful owners, that is the NDDC.”
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