Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has vowed that the upper legislative chamber on resumption of plenary will further probe the claims made before its Ad-hoc Committee by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru on how and why the corporation was diverting the dividend from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG to defray the cost of under-recovery in the importation of fuel.
Baru, while appearing before the ad-hoc committee, chaired by the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, APC-Yobe North, said the NNPC is using $1.05billion from dividends of NLNG to augment daily shortages incurred in the pump price of premium motor spirit, PMS.
Reacting, Saraki disclosed that he had received series of telephone calls on the issue by many concerned Nigerians and others who wanted to know the position of the Senate on the issues raised by the NNPC boss before the ad-hoc committee.
The senate president, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu, spoke while reacting to questions from newsmen over the weekend at the Ilorin Airport.
He stated that the disclosure by the NNPC boss in response to enquiries by the Senate adhoc committee probing the issue of illegal payment of subsidy on fuel, called for further investigation by the Senate and also showed that as alleged in a motion moved earlier by Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi, a lot of illegal and unapproved spendings are going on in the petroleum corporation.
“Let me assure Nigerians that there will be no cover up. We are confident that the adhoc committee will do a thorough job. All the issues will be unearthed. That is why when the Senate set up investigative committees on issues, we want Nigerians to have confidence in us that we do not act because we want to embark on a wild goose chase.
“There must be some serious issues to be looked into. The revelations by the NNPC’s GMD have justified the need for this investigation and they have shown that we are acting in good faith.
“When in my ruling on the motion raised by Senator Olujimi, I insisted that we want a transparent, honest and non-partisan investigation on the fuel subsidy issue, it was clear to me and my colleagues that there are certain irregularities being perpetrated and we should let Nigerians know the truth. That is why we set up the committee in the first place and to demonstrate the seriousness we attach to the issue, we decided that the adhoc committee should be led by the Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan.
“We are however shocked that the NNPC’s GMD was claiming that the illegal diversion of dividends from the NLNG which should be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation for the purpose of funding the fuel subsidy was done ‘in compliance with the National Assembly directive that NNPC as the supplier of last resort should, and has, maintained robust petrol supply’.
“So, if the National Assembly called on NNPC to carry out its legitimate duty of ensuring adequate fuel supply to Nigerians, the GMD logically thinks the corporation by that call has the license to perpetrate illegality, spend money without approval and violate appropriation laws.
“It is my belief that if the National Assembly said the corporation should perform its duty effectively as a supplier of fuel to Nigerians without exposing people to needless suffering, that ought to be done within the ambit of the law.
“This investigation will require the GMD to produce the approval given by the National Assembly and other necessary approving bodies authorizing the NNPC to divert the dividend from the NLNG investment, which ought to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund belonging to the three tiers of government, for the payment of fuel subsidy”, he stated.