NASS summons 17 oil firms over NDDC debts

The Joint National Assembly Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission on Tuesday summoned 17 oil companies over their alleged N72bn and $273m indebtedness to the agency.

The Chairman of the NASS joint panel, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, issued the summons at the end of an interactive session with officials of the NDDC, the Central Bank of Nigeria and Union Bank.

Some of the oil companies involved are Shebah Express Petroleum, Atlas Petroleum, Allied Energy, Frontier Oil, Seven Energy Limited, AITECO Exploration and Production, Dubri Oil, Conoil Producing, Continental Oil and Gas.

Others are Enageed Resources Limited, New Cross Exploration and Production, Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Petroleum Development Resources, Munipulo Petroleum Development Company, Prime Exploration and Production Company and Nigeria LNG Limited.

The oil firms, according to Nwaoboshi, are expected to appear before the joint committee by next week Wednesday.

The senator said that the companies were invited to explain why they were not obeying the nation’s laws.

He said, “We have invited oil companies that are indebted to the NDDC to come and tell lawmakers why they would not obey the laws of the country. Some of them have confirmed that they owed the NDDC.”

He said as of the time the last calculation was done, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Corporation owed N54bn; Allied oil owed $43m, while Pan Ocean owed $46m.

He also revealed that the Federal Government owed the NDDC over N1tn.

Nwaoboshi, who expressed dissatisfaction with the failure of the oil companies to pay the NDDC, said that the Senate made efforts in the 8th National Assembly to ensure prompt payment of money meant for the NDDC.

He accused the oil companies of not disclosing their real budgets, saying most of the firms tampered with their annual budgets.

The senator said President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered a forensic audit of the NDDC, adding that the committee had resolved to do the same.

He said, “We welcome the forensic audit of the NDDC. The 8th Senate did technical audit and our findings were very appalling. We are going to do our own full investigation. We have resolved to do full audit of the NDDC.”

Written by Sunday Aborisade, Punch Newspapers