By Chimezie Godfrey
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has called on the National Assembly to summon the leadership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to a public hearing on its recent audit report.
CISCLAC also urged President Buhari to give account of his stewardship in the petroleum industry from his resumption in power till date.
This was contained in a statement signed and made available to newsmen on Tuesday by the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani.
Rafsanjani stressed that CISLAC is dedicated to efforts towards promoting transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
He stated that they are encouraged by the increased recent emphasis of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on transparency, accountability and inclusion.
He commended the Corporation for conducting the first audit ever in over 40 years of the corporation’s existence and pledged the continues support of CISLAC towards efforts at re-positioning the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
Rafasanjani however, decried the fact that over the years, there have been several reports on activities of the Corporation, including commissioned inquiries, audits and investigations that have stressed transparency and accountability as crucial elements behind the inefficiency and alleged corruption in the Corporation.
He noted that these are responsible for the hemorrhage on revenue flows and oil production that have earned Nigeria’s oil sector a not-too-favourable reputation both locally and internationally.
According to him, successive governments and leadership of the NNPC had come out with several commitments, vows, promises, even policies on how the magic will be done in the operations of the corporation but till date, none have availed to anything tangible.
“All we see is a bad to worse situation both in the structure of the operations and the accountability issues associated with the operations of the Corporation.
“This current audit report that was released recently by the Corporation has shown how much the country has been losing through some very obvious inefficient practices as seen in the reports.
“We call on the National Assembly to summon the leadership of the Corporation to a public hearing on this report.
“There is need for the responsible personnel to answer to this level of mismanagement and also allow the public to interrogate them on all that has been going on in the system for this long.
“We also use this opportunity to draw the attention of the National Assembly to their legislative functions in this sector. Till date, there is no proper law governing the sector.
“We call on the National Assembly to also speed up effort in passing the Petroleum Industry Bill in order to curb all these waste,” Rafsanjani stated.
The Executive Director drew the attention of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) to the fact that some of the agencies in Nigeria are nothing but a drainpipe, siphoning the limited resources away than contributing to the development of the country.
He pointed out that here is need for an urgent reform process in such agencies.
“We want to call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who is also the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources to give an account of his stewardship in the petroleum industry since his resumption in power till date.
“We call on the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation to maintain a routine of this audit yearly as this will go a long way to assuage the yearnings of the citizens over the years for a proper restructuring of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria,” he stressed.
Rafsanjani noted that these resources that are seen in this report are resources needed to lift the citizens of this country out of penury.
“It is quite disheartening that these resources are wasted leaving the people suffering in abject poverty.
“This act needs to be brought to justice else the claim of fighting corruption would have suffered another dangerous setback.
“Finally, we call on all stakeholders to be more focused, determined and united in the demand for transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector and work to ensure that the long process of legislative reform brings about the dawn of laws that will ensure a regime of accountability in the sector,” he stated.