Reps want Ogoni cleanup bank account frozen

Contaminated Farmland at K-Dere, Ogoni land
Contaminated Farmland at K-Dere, Ogoni land

The House of Representatives has passed a resolution calling for the freezing of the account of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP).

The account is domiciled with Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc.

The lawmakers said the account should be frozen and full investigation into its status conducted.

They also resolved that the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation be asked to publish and sanction with immediate effect all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), as well as private organisations and banks where federal government funds are hidden.

The freezing of HYPREP’s account was one of many recommendations adopted by the House on Thursday.

HYPREP is the agency in charge of the coordination of the cleanup of the heavily polluted Ogoni land.

Ogoni area in Rivers State has over the years been destroyed by oil spills leading to the destruction of surrounding waters and farm lands.

The cleanup has been enmeshed in controversy, PREMIUM TIMES recently published a report that showed how a majority of the companies contracted to handle the cleanup were not qualified.

The directive to freeze the HYPREP account was given after the House considered the report of its committee that investigated the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.

The chairman of the ad hoc committee on TSA, Danburam Abubakar, who presented the report, made the recommendations.

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The lawmakers also said all MDAs who violated the TSA policy should be sanctioned accordingly.

The House directed that payments outside the TSA policy should be suspended as it is seen as “an attempt to circumvent the policy.”

They added that the application of waivers of any MDA’s account must follow the guidelines on TSA implementation and “duly approved and signed by the president only.”

Other resolutions are “that the accountant-general should henceforth carry out a quarterly appraisal and reconciliation of the TSA/CFR account and publish reports on the performance of the TSA and;

“That the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) should make full disclosures on the natures and status of the fund in the NNPC Pension Fund Ltd domiciled in Aso Savings and Loans Plc.”

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