• Friday, May 24, 2024
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N59trn oil deal: House probes Allison-Madueke, others

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The House of Representatives on Thursday resolved to constitute an ad-hoc committee to investigate the alleged N59 trillion oil blocks deal involving the minister of petroleum resources, Dieziani Allison-Madueke.

Allison-Madueke, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Ltd, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept, Septa Energy Ltd and other entities are alleged to be involved in the allocation of seven oil blocs.

The House also directed the committee to report its investigation and findings in four weeks.

This followed a matter of urgent public importance raised on the floor of the House by Victor Afam Ogene, who cited Order VIII, Rule 46/Rule 49.

According to Ogene, the protesting representatives of oil-producing ethnic nationalities in Delta State marched to the premises of the National Assembly to protest the alleged fraudulent allocation of some marginal oil fields, including oil mining leases (OMLs) 4, 26, 30, 34, 38, 41 and 42.

Ogene also observed that the protesters complained of the secrecy and arbitrary allocation of the said OMLs to both Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept and Septa Energy Ltd without recourse to the law and due process.

“The honourable minister of petroleum resources, Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd, compromised officials of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Corporation – a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation – were allegedly accused of impropriety, abuse of due process and fraud in the transactions leading to the farm-out of the said oil blocs. The House is aware that a colossal sum of $380 billion or about N59 trillion and $15.72 trillion worth of gas assets were alleged to be at stake in the shady deal,” Ogene said.

He pointed out that it was also alleged that there was a deliberate exclusion of indigenous operators from exercising their rights of first consideration or refusal, which violates sections 3(1), (2) and 5 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act (No 2), 2010.

“This is an action, which obviated the need for an open and competitive bidding in favour of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd, which neither tendered nor bided for the (oil) blocs allocated to it,” he added.

Ogene noted that the Federal Government would have earned $800 million instead of the $50 million it received, if there had been an open and competitive biding as required by section 16 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.

He expressed worry that the alleged resultant part sum of $750 million in the entire racket became possible through a mischievous process of hinging the transaction on the ‘Strategic Alliance Agreement’ – an action which was deliberately designed to circumvent due process and transparency in contravention of section 3 of the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparent Initiative (NEITI) Act, 2005, the Public Procurement Act and the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act (No 2) 2010.

“The House is concerned with the need to discharge its constitutional responsibility under section 88(1b) and (2b) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, which requires the House to conduct an investigation into the public affairs of any person, authority, ministry or government department for the purpose of exposing corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws, and being mindful of the weighty accusations being made in this reference.”

 

TEDDY NWANUNOBI, Abuja