National Observatory Seeks Probe

LAGOS – A Civil Society Organisation (CSO), the National Observatory, has picked holes in the recent procurement of a 3billion dollar ‘Emergency Crude Repayment Loan from the Cairo, Egypt-based, African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim Bank) by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited.

The group which claimed to be the nation’s conscience, said the huge loan was ostensibly to shore up support for the national currency and stabilise the nation’s foreign exchange market, had exposed the deep gaps in Nigeria’s corporate governance system and values.

The group, in a statement signed by Debo Adeniran, its President, and Omotaje Olawale Saint, the administrative secretary, stated: “It calls into fore dire necessity for the overhaul of our political idiosyncrasies, imperatives for a paradigm shift socio-economic orientations and policy thrusts.

“If we as a collective are suffering from induced drowse as a result of high dosage of a peculiar amnesia drug, we should be fully conscious that erstwhile Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, is having his days in the court answering for various accusations bordering on economic sabotage.”

It noted that the CBN had been carrying out a forensic audit of what it termed “the fiducial recklessness” during the pendency of Emefiele’s headship.

The group stated that most of the infractions that Emefiele was being investigated for were committed with active complacency, if not complicit of these global financial institutions’ players.

It said: “For instance, President Muhammadu Buhari gave a similar loan to shore up the naira against dollars without following due process.”

It said the loan under Buhari had no approval by requisite bodies and was without the knowledge of the Federal Executive Council, National Economic Council, or the National Assembly.

“This NNPC Ltd $3 Billion loan from Afrexim is gotten in the same way and manner that CBN under Emefiele conducted its affairs – with utter disrespect to the constitution, disdain for the nation’s sovereignty and arrogant dis-interestedness in the plights of pulverised Nigerian citizens.

“The question on the lips of all sane Nigerians is: What is a private limited liability company, NNPCL, doing getting a loan from a sovereign state?

“Is the NNPC Limited now the Central Bank of Nigeria? This loan does not just usurp the duties of the Central Bank, it is also conducted in a veil of conspiratorial secrecy. A vexatiously notorious trait of the NNPC labyrinth.

“All Nigerians, including CSOs, investigative journalists, and independent investigations are challenged to pierce the veil, and expose the promoters, profiteers, and beneficiaries of the ubiquitous NNPC.

“The corporation is derelict in its corporate responsibilities to run a thriving business enterprise generating much-needed foreign exchange revenues for the country, none of the four refineries in its profile produces a drop of Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol) for the country.

“All registered corporate firms submit annual audited accounts to their Annual General Meeting (AGM) for thorough scrutiny and approvals.

“This is what institutional and public probes are designed to achieve in public or quasi-public corporations like the NNPCL.

“Since the 1956 discovery of crude oil in Oloibiri, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, it has become what has been generally tagged as the ‘Blessing/Curse’ of the nation.

“This is mainly due to a lack of transparency, accountability, and probity in the management of the resources.

“The realities slapping us in the face as a nation is that the NNPC has been grossly unable, really incapacitated, to deliver palpable gains to Nigerians in recent times.

“It has become a burden, a scandalous hive for sharp practices, oil bunkering feeding armed militancy, feathering nests of a reprobate, greedy elites, fuel subsidy scammers and all sorts of shady deals in favour of global financial institutions, transnational corporations but at the detriment of our national polity and suffering masses.

“We make bold to assert that NNPC-Afrexim’s $3 Billion loan is nothing, but a continuation of this gang-raping spree of our collective patrimony. It must be probed.”