Saraki flares up over use of $1.05bn NLNG dividends for fuel subsidy

Senate President Bukola Saraki has faulted reported use of $1.05billion, by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), from its dividends from the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) for fuel subsidy.

Saraki said the Senate would, therefore, on resumption of plenary today investigate the claims made before the Senator Ahmad Lawan’s Ad-hoc Committee by the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, on how and why the corporation diverted the dividend from the NLNG to defray the cost of under-recovery in the importation of fuel.

The Senate president, who was quoted as saying this while speaking with newsmen at the Ilorin airport on Monday, according to a statement by his media adviser, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, admitted that he had received series of telephone calls on the issue by many concerned Nigerians, “Who wanted to know the position of the Senate on the issues raised by the NNPC’s GMD before the Ahmad Lawan’s Ad-hoc Committee.”

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Saraki expressed grave concern that the NNPC 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”.

He wondered, “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 licence to perpetuate 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.”

Saraki added that Senate probe of the unauthorised spending by NNPC will require the GMD to produce the approval given by the National Assembly and other necessary approving bodies authorising 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”.

According to him, the disclosure by the NNPC boss in response to enquiries by the Senate ad-hoc 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.

He, therefore, assured Nigerians that Senate would thoroughly investigate this matter saying “there will be no cover-up.”
Saraki also expressed confidence that the ad-hoc committee would 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.

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