On April 11, 2023, the House of Representatives will question ministers and other federal government officials in charge of various departments, offices, and ministries as well as bankers and oil firms over the alleged smuggling of 48 million barrels of crude oil worth $2.4 billion.
The investigation is being conducted by the House’ Ad Hoc Committee to Examine Alleged Loss of Nearly $2.4bn in Revenue from Illegal Sale of 48 Million Barrels of Crude Oil Export in 2015, Including All Crude Oil Exports and Sales by Nigeria from 2014 to Date.
The committee also requested memos from informants whose warning had resulted in the recovery of public cash from dishonest people and organizations in a notice to invitees on Monday.
The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning; Attorney General of the Federation; Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation; Central Bank of Nigeria; Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission; Chief Executive, NUPRC; and former Chairman, Presidential Committee on Recovery of Missing Crude were among the 100 individuals, organizations, and groups invited by the committee.
The oil and telecommunication firms as well as banks for appearance include Dangote Industries Limited/Dangote Refinery; MTN Nigeria Limited; 9Mobile Nigeria Limited; Airtel Nigeria Limited; United Bank for Africa; Guaranty Trust Bank; Access Bank; Ecobank; Fidelity Bank; and Zenith Bank; Famfa Oil Limited; Seplat Petroleum; Addax Petroleum; Total Energies; Chevron; Shell (SNEPCO & SPDC); Sahara Energy Resources; Conoil; AITEO; Agip/NAOC; Heirs Petroleum; ExxonMobil/ESSO Petroleum; Oando; Oriental; SAPETRO and all other JV, PSC and marginal field operators.
Other top government officials have also been invited.
The notice partly read, “In the unlikely event that formal correspondence from the committee does not reach any of those listed above, please consider this publication as a formal invitation to the public hearing.
“It is also hereby requested that anyone with knowledge of—or who has provided the Nigerian government with whistle-blower information about corruption and the proceeds of corruption (regardless of whether such information has resulted in recovery by the government) submit memoranda to the secretariat of the committee with the following details:
At least twice, the committee organized investigative hearings when guests—including representatives from INTERPOL and the Nigeria Police Force were interrogated.
When reached by phone on Monday, the committee’s chairman, Mark Gbillah, stated that the panel had not been formally inaugurated because Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House, was not present to proclaim the hearing open.
Gbillah said the committee would now be formally established on April 11 by the Speaker.
The committee’s chairman said that the investigation might continue in the 10th Assembly when he was questioned about whether it would be possible for the committee to wrap up its work before the 9th National Assembly adjourns in June.
Certainly, we think we have enough time to look at the important concerns, he replied. But since governance is a continuum and there are always ongoing issues, we can always urge in the report that the next House take over from here and there. But we must attempt to reach a conclusion because the matter is too crucial.
On December 20, 2022, the House decided to create an ad hoc committee to look into claims made by a whistleblower that 48 million barrels of Nigeria’s Bonny Light petroleum were sold illegally to China in 2015, as well as the cargo’s insurance status.
The committee was also tasked with looking into all of Nigeria’s crude oil exports and sales from 2014 to the present, including the volume, insurance, revenue produced, remittances into the Federation Account or other accounts, and the use of the revenue during the investigation period.
The panel would also look at the extent of adherence to the Whistle-Blowers Policy of the administration headed by President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and all monies recovered via that policy.
The committee was required to submit a report for additional legislative action within four weeks.