Senate investigates diversion of N378billion NLNG dividend by Buhari’s govt

Nigerian Senate Chambers
Nigerian Senate Chamber used to illustrate the story.

The Senate has mandated its committee on gas to investigate how the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) diverted the dividend from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) to fund petroleum subsidy.

The resolution followed a point of order by the chairman of the committee, Albert Akpan, who sought the permission of his colleagues to allow the committee get to work.

PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively published documents showing how the Buhari administration unilaterally — without required consultation with states and the national assembly– tampered with the NLNG funds.

This was also done without appropriation by the National Assembly.

The report shows that the federal government illegally diverted $1.05 billion (N378 billion at N360 to a dollar) to secretly fund subsidy payment on petroleum products and to boost fuel supply.

The Senate president, Bukola Saraki, in a statement hours after the publication had assured that the senate will launch an investigation into the issue.

On Tuesday, he granted the committee the power to investigate the claims. This came after Mr Akpan sought the approval of his colleagues.

“Mr President, the NLNG dividends account proceeds belongs to the three tiers of government and comes under the consolidated revenue fund account. Therefore, any unauthorised withdrawal from this account without the approval of the National Assembly or any other structure of government is illegal.

“I therefore seek the leave of the Mr President to allow the senate committee on gas to investigate this withdrawal and other withdrawals and the way and manner NLNG proceeds is treated by the NNPC and report back to the senate,” Mr Akpan said Tuesday.

“I think you are asking us to give you approval on what you have powers to do,” Mr Saraki said jokingly while granting the prayer.

The approval was however opposed by the Senate leader who insisted an ad-hoc committee, which he chairs, is already investigating the fuel subsidy of which the NLNG fund is part of.

“Our committee is working on this and therefore, I don’t think the Senate committee on gas should investigate this,” he protested.

His prayer was not granted as Mr Saraki authorised the committee on gas to focus strictly on the NLNG fund while the ad-hoc committee focuses on fuel subsidy generally.

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Kemi Busari is a senior reporter covering the Nigerian Senate for PREMIUM TIMES. He has interest in human rights and has won awards for his works, including the Hans Verploeg Award and the PwC Business reporting award. Twitter: @kemi_busari


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