The House of Representatives on Tuesday constituted an ad hoc committee to investigate alleged under-remittance of funds by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the Federation Account.
The 12-member committee is headed by Chukwuma Onyema (Anambra-PDP).
The committee is expected to ascertain the volume of oil production as against the projection in the budget, exchange rate being used and cash flow from January to July 2018, among others.
The constitution of the committee was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion under “Matter of Urgent Public Importance’’ by Rep. Nicholas Ossai (PDP-Delta) at the plenary.
Moving the motion earlier, Ossai said funds accrued to the federation was usually shared between the Local, State and Federal Governments.
He said that the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) monthly meeting did not hold in June due to under-remittance of funds to the account to the tone of N400 million by the NNPC.
Ossai said that it was not the first time NNPC was failing to remit funds accurately and that it was happening at a time when oil price was on the increase.
He said that the situation could not be blamed on lack of funds, but on some persons in the corporation who were not doing the right thing.
He expressed worry over the issue, saying that some states would not be able to pay salaries and allowances to workers.
In his contribution, Rep. Dennis Agbo (PDP-Enugu) alleged that the national fund was being appropriated by the NNPC.
He said that the corporation was paying subsidy without appropriation as the landing cost of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol, was higher than its pump price.
According to Agbo, the NNPC is making itself greater than government and we must put the highest pressure on them to do the right thing.
While urging his colleagues to support the motion, he challenged states to look inward to generate funds to pay salaries.
Rep. Sergius Ogun (PDP-Edo) urged the house to expand the scope of the investigation as he described the NNPC as the “fat cow of the nation.”
He said that the company was poorly managed and that he knew a lot that could put the company out of business.
However, Rep. Shehu Shagari (APC-Sokoto), in his contribution, said that he had seen several motions on the NNPC on the floor of the green chamber from the 6th, 7th and current 8th National Assembly.
According to him, I was a part of the committee that investigated the NNPC in the 6th assembly; we discovered a lot of things, submitted our report and nothing happened.
”We must be prepared, the chairman and indeed the members of the committee, should watch themselves closely, because NNPC will come after you one-by-one and thereafter you will start talking from both sides of your mouth.
“If you are not ready, stay away from the committee,” Shagari said.
Rep. Nkem Abonta (PDP-Abia) said that the house must do the needful to ensure proper management of the NNPC.
According to him, the nation is said to be out of recession but we cannot feel the result yet, so we cannot afford to have the NNPC managed wrongly.
Abonta said that the problem in the NNPC had persisted because past reports on the company were not debated but were put in the archives.
The house unanimously supported the investigative motion when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, who promptly constituted the committee and announced the membership.