The House of Representatives Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), which is investigating the circumstances surrounding the revocation and re-award of oil mining leases (OML), has given the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Addax Petroleum Company Limited and Santex Nigeria Limited a two-week ultimatum to appear before it and explain alleged irregularities in the Addax Oil Mining Lease (OML) transaction.
According to the Committee, the ultimatum became necessary following the refusal of NNPC and others to honour invitations or reply letters, noting that three letters were written to them, at an interval of three months each requesting for their budget, budget performance, and list of assets they are holding and managing on behalf of Nigerians, but the Corporation had refused to oblige the Committee.
The Committee further threatened that the lawmakers would not hesitate to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to appear before it as the Minister of Petroleum, if the NNPC shuns their summons again.
According to Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Hon. Sarki Ada:
“Our message to all those who have failed to appear before us as invited are: the NNPC, Addax Petroleum Company Limited and Santex Nigeria Limited. We are giving them two weeks from today; we will reschedule this meeting for two weeks for them to appear before this committee.
“Unless if they want us to invite President Buhari to appear before us as the Minister of Petroleum. We will invite him, and I know as the law-abiding president, he will come. When he comes, Nigeria should know that it is because of the failure of the NNPC to appear that made him to appear before us”.
Speaking on the matter, Mr. Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum, said no law was breached as far as the Addax affair is concerned. He said he wrote a memo to the President regarding the issue, however, NNPC wrote another memo against his.
He cited the Petroleum Act, which empowers the Minister to revoke any oil prospecting licence or oil mining lease if the licensee becomes controlled directly or indirectly by a citizen, adding that NNPC is not in a position to ask for the revocation of any licence.
At Thursday’s Plenary session, the House specifically mandated its committees on Finance; Anti-Corruption; Financial Crimes; Banking and Currency; and Insurance and Actuarial Matters to ‘investigate the phenomenon of illicit financial flows and appraise the Federal Government’s current policy framework to curb the continuous loss of Nigeria’s revenues”.