$17bn stolen oil: Reps summon Emefiele

$17bn stolen oil: Reps summon Emefiele
Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor

An ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives on Thursday summoned the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to appear before it within seven days or risk being arrested.

He was also directed to produce all documents linked to the $17bn worth of Nigeria’s crude oil and gas said to have been stolen from undeclared exports between 2011 and 2014.

The committee, which is chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Adamawa State, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, is investigating the controversial transactions.

The committee had said that major government agencies, including the Department of Petroleum Resources, “colluded” with International Oil Companies to short-change Nigeria in the deals.

Namdas, who spoke at the National Assembly in Abuja, said the committee had scheduled a meeting with Emefiele on Thursday only for the CBN governor to shun the lawmakers.

He said, “We are here today and the CBN governor is not here. This is most unfortunate. It is unfortunate that agencies of government will want to frustrate an investigation under this administration that is out to fight all forms of corruption.

“Let Emefiele be aware that under Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution, the National Assembly is empowered to conduct investigations, expose corruption. In doing so, nobody is above the law.

“We shall not hesitate to invoke these powers if the governor fails within one week to respond to our enquiries. He should also be mindful of the fact that he has to appear before this committee to answer questions.”

Namdas recalled how the committee earlier wrote the CBN, requesting information on the crude and gas sales, but received two conflicting replies.

He stated that in the first reply, the apex bank asked for time to generate the information on the crude transactions, which it said was “voluminous.”

But, in another reply, the bank made a U-turn, telling the committee that it had no information to offer on the controversial deals.

“We are surprised by these conflicting responses. However, we have resolved as a committee to give Emefiele one more opportunity to appear within one week before we invoke our powers under the law.

“This is important so that we are not accused of embarking on a witch-hunt or not giving the governor fair hearing,” he added.

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