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The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee, yesterday, walked out officials of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN; National Petroleum Development Corporation, NPDC, and Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR over their incompetence to speak on behalf of their principals on the issue of $17 billion stolen from undeclared crude oil and liquefied natural gas from Nigeria.

This event followed the shunning of the investigative hearing from; Econimic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC; Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC; Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI; Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA; National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS; Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF; Customs; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA; and Navy.

The chairman of the adhoc committee, Abdulrazaq Namdas (APC, Adamawa) demanded for letters of attorney from representatives of CBN, NPDC and DPR immediately the hearing started at about 11.30 am, but unfortunately none of them had such a letter.

 The chairman consulted other members of the committee, who collectively agreed that the officials were not competent to speak on the subject matter. Ehiozuwa Johnson Agbonayinma (PDP, Edo) said: “This committee gave two weeks notice and it was publicised in both print and electronic media,so there’s no reason for them not to be here today.’’

Namdas told the various representatives that they were not competent to speak for their bosses on the issue at stake. “We expect your principals here tomorrow (today) or better still come here with your letter of attorney,” he said.

Namdas also revealed that Nigeria lost over 57million barrels of crude oil valued $12 billion in 2014.

Speaking earlier, the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, represented by the Minority Whip, Yakubu Barde (PDP, Kaduna), noted: “The adhoc committee was not designed to witchhunt anybody but to help cleanse the oil industry of rot as the incidence of corruption has become a recurring decimal.”

Also in his welcome address, chairman of the committee, Namdas, said: “The immediate past government initiated this investigation but it was largely inconclusive. He said between January and December 2014, Nigeria lost 57million barrels of crude valued then at $12bn, adding that if the amount were to be converted to Naira, it was well over N2trillion.

“Corruption in the oil sector fundamentally distorts public policy,creates misappropriation of resources, vitiates private, public sectors development and ultimately hurts the poor most.

“By implication, if all revenue from crude oil exports lost due to the activities of those engaged in illegal exports and sales of Nigeria crude are recovered from identified buyers of stolen Nigeria crude oil, it will go a long way to support developmental goals of the government, including provision of potable water, infrastructure, good education, electricity and other good things of life,’’ he said.

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