Saturday, February 7, 2015


7th February, 2015

The forensic audit conducted on behalf of the Federal Government by PriceWaterHouseCoopers, an audit firm, on the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC] was submitted two days ago. The report, which was made public by the Presidency, indicted the management of the national oil company for engaging in several spurious transactions and recommended that NNPC should refund $1.48billion.

While the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) welcomes this finding, we affirm that it has exonerated eminent and patriotic Nigerians who made allegations concerning the monumental fraud going on in the national oil company.

It is on record that two former governors of the Central Bank (who are in the position to know) had made serious allegations against NNPC. The immediate past governor of the Central Bank and current Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, alleged that $20 billion was missing more than one year ago.

Recently, Charles Chukwuma Soludo, a former governor, alleged that N30 trillion was missing under the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala. The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), had also accused NNPC of failing to remit the sum of N3.65 trillion oil revenue.      

From the ongoing and in view of the recently submitted report, there is no gainsaying the fact that NNPC has become a cesspool of corruption. To cap the edifice, we now have a Federal Government headed by a President who does not believe that stealing is corruption. Worse still, individuals indicted at home and abroad are being glorified by President Jonathan.

We frown at this nonchalant attitude to transparency, probity and accountability. A regime that encourages corrupt practices has no moral right to ask the electorate for another mandate.

MURIC reminds Nigerians that Transparency International rated Nigeria the Most Corrupt Country in the world in the year 2001. Two years later, in 2003, the same international body rated Nigeria Second Most Corrupt country in the world. In 2004, Nigeria was rated the Third Most Corrupt Country. Nigerian authorities should have taken a cue from these ratings.

In spite of the fact that up till late 2014 Nigeria was producing 2.4 million barrels per day and selling every single barrel at about $91.63 thus making around $224 million daily or $81 billion per annum, the socio-economic lot of the average Nigerian did not improve. The average Nigerian still depends on less than $1 per day. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita income is less than $2,688 compared to $16,507 in Equitorial Guinea and $13,029 in Mauritius. Poverty has become the middle name of more than 65% of Nigerians.    

We therefore invite the Federal Government (FG) to take urgent action on corruption. FG must sit up. All the problems facing Nigeria will disappear the moment we get it right on corruption.

MURIC demands immediate action against those responsible for the financial recklessness in NNPC. FG must set up an independent panel to investigate the mess in NNPC. One of the terms of reference of the panel should be the investigation of recent allegations (that of NEITI and that of Soludo). Heads must roll after the investigation. Anyone found culpable must pay for it. Only thus can we have a financially prudent national oil company.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

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