Senate President Bukola Saraki has stated that the Senate under his leadership will probe the alleged diversion of the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) multi billion naira dividend by the Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
Last week, Maikanti Baru, group managing director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), told an ad hoc committee of the senate that in response to a call by the national assembly to put a stop to the petrol supply crisis, a fund was set up by the corporation.
Baru told the committee chaired by Ahmed Lawan, senate leader, that $1.05bn (about N378bn) was sourced from NLNG dividend for that purpose.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, Kwara state capital, Saraki said he had received series of telephone calls on the issue.
The senate president said putting a stop to fuel supply crisis should not be done without recourse to the law.
“Let me assure Nigerians that there will be no cover up. We are confident that the adhoc committee will do a thorough job. All the issues will be unearthed,” Saraki said.
“That is why when the senate set up investigative committees on issues, we want Nigerians to have confidence in us that we do not act because we want to embark on a wild goose chase. There must be some serious issues to be looked into. The revelations by the NNPC’s GMD have justified the need for this investigation and they have shown that we are acting in good faith.
“When in my ruling on the motion raised by Senator Olujimi, I insisted that we want a transparent, honest and non-partisan investigation on the fuel subsidy issue, it was clear to me and my colleagues that there are certain irregularities being perpetrated and we should let Nigerians know the truth.
“That is why we set up the committee in the first place and to demonstrate the seriousness we attach to the issue, we decided that the adhoc committee should be led by the leader of the senate, senator Ahmad Lawan.
“We are however shocked that the NNPC’s GMD was claiming that the illegal diversion of dividends from the NLNG which should be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation for the purpose of funding the fuel subsidy was done ‘in compliance with the National Assembly directive that NNPC as the supplier of last resort should, and has, maintained robust petrol supply’.
“So, if the national assembly called on NNPC to carry out its legitimate duty of ensuring adequate fuel supply to Nigerians, the GMD logically thinks the corporation by that call has the license to perpetrate illegality, spend money without approval and violate appropriation laws.
“It is my belief that if the national assembly said the corporation should perform its duty effectively as a supplier of fuel to Nigerians without exposing people to needless suffering, that ought to be done within the ambit of the law.
“This investigation will require the GMD to produce the approval given by the national assembly and other necessary approving bodies authorizing the NNPC to divert the dividend from the NLNG investment, which ought to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund belonging to the three tiers of government, for the payment of fuel subsidy.”