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Lawmaker demands NEITI’s probe over missing $15bn, N200bn

The lawmaker representing Rivers South-East, Senator Barinada Mpigi, has called for an investigation of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative over reports of missing $15bn and another N200bn unaccounted for between 2020 and 2021.

Mpigi, in a motion to the Senate, which was seen by our correspondent, noted that it was important for the Senate to launch an immediate investigation into the issue of missing money and crude which he said had continually sabotaged government efforts in ensuring that fuel was available and affordable in the country.

The motion partly read, “I am concerned that over $15bn and another N200bn are missing and unaccounted for by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative between 2020 and 2021.

“The rising unremitted revenues due to the federation to the tune of $9.85bn out of total crude oil and gas revenue of $23.04bn represents a 13 per cent increase from the total $20.45bn realised in 2020.

“The unremitted revenue of $278.81m earned by the federation from trial marketing under first exploration and production JV, $7.61m from OML 116 operated by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, and $5.85bn proceeds from the sale of domestic crude oil, include about $871.15m unremitted crude sales as of December 31, 2021.”

He stated that during the year under review, a total of 54 companies accounted for a total metered crude oil production of 634.60 million barrels, adding that 68.47 million barrels out of this was lost to production adjustments, measurement error and theft/sabotage, leaving a balance of 566.13 million barrels as “fossilised production for 2021, which includes both crude oil and condensates”.

The lawmaker further noted that he was worried that what the government received from all revenue streams from the oil and gas during the period under review was far less deserving.

He added, “I’m concerned that the inability to unravel the myth in oil and gas industries will lead to cynicism, suspicion and eventually citizens’ distrust about the ability of the government to combat high-level official corruption, deter foreign investments and limit growth and development.”

He stressed that it was important that “the Senate mandates the Committee on Gas and Upstream Petroleum to scrutinise NEITI with a view to unravelling the rot in the oil and gas sector and conduct a holistic investigation into the issues raised in the project”.