Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) thursday in Abuja accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of short-changing the country by failing to remit to the entire joint venture proceeds from the sale of crude oil to the Federation Account for a period of five years.
Briefing State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the NGF Chairman, and governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who led six other governors to the meeting, alleged that NNPC short-changed the country on the remittances between 2010 and 2015.
He said what was most irksome was that this non-remittance occurred when the joint venture proceeds were high, recalling that the price of crude oil at the time was about $110 per barrel.
He said the necessity to meet Buhari thursday over the matter was the offshoot of a National Economic Council (NEC) decision to resolve all outstanding issues on remittances, disclosing that the committee found that what was remitted to the federation account was lower than what was generated by the federation from joint venture operations.
Against this background, Yari who said the committee had earlier engaged the corporation on how to rectify the situation, noted that it became compelling to brief Buhari on how NNPC had short-changed the entire Nigerians.
“The meeting is on the decision of NEC that the seven-man committee was established to engage the NNPC and discuss a way forward so that we can be able to resolve the issue that is outstanding most especially on the remittances to the Federation Account.
“Yesterday (Wednesday) the seven-man committee sat with the NNPC and today (yesterday), we have come to brief the president. One of the things is about how they are paying the joint venture batch four and we have seen that what is being remitted to the Federation Account, to the entire people of Nigeria, is lower, because what is being generated from the joint venture proceeds is higher than what is going to the Federation Account.
“So, we are concerned about that and NEC is concerned about that. So, they told the committee under my leadership to engage with the NNPC to discuss a way forward. The entire federation is being shortchanged by those activities. The NNPC since 2010, there were no payments of Joint Venture proceeds when the oil was $110 per barrel up to when the president took over in 2015.
“So, why the funds Federation Account are always low is because they are making dual payments – paying the existing and at the same time paying the arrears. So, we sat down with them to fine-tune how best we are going to get our partners to understand where we are more, especially now that the oil has started picking and the price is becoming moderately good and then, we are slightly out of recession and we want to sustain that tempo,” Yari said.
The governors, besides Yari were Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State (PDP), Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State (PDP), Simon Lalong of Plateau State (APC), Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State (APC), Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State (APC) and Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai of Kaduna State (APC).