10 April 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA — There are indications that the House of Representatives Joint Committees on Finance, Petroleum Upstream and Downstream and Gas may have discontinued the probe into the non-remittance of N450 billion into the Federation Account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
Though the decision to probe the alleged non-remittance was sequel to the adoption of a motion by the House of Representatives, it was gathered that the decision to discontinue the probe may not be unconnected with pressure from the executive arm of government which had set up some committees to probe activities of the petroleum sector.
It would be recalled that the committees under the leadership of Abdulmumin Jibrin (PDP, Kano), Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, held public hearing last November to determine why the NNPC failed to remit over N450 billion to the Federation Account.
Though the hearing was almost marred by internal squabbles among members, several revelations were uncovered before the House mandated the Faruk Lawan-led Ad Hoc committee to investigate the subsidy regime in the country.
Spokesman of the House of Representatives, Zakari Mohammed, disclosed that the House was awaiting the report of the Faruk Lawan-led Ad Hoc committee on fuel subsidy which he said was more all-encompassing.
He said: “What the House did was to await the report of the Faruk Lawan committee which has a broader mandate. If the report of the committee is out and some of the areas are not covered, then the committee can continue with its work.
There is no need to contine when the issues raised are covered by the Faruk Lawan committee.”
Following alleged irregularities observed in the subsidy regime, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison Maduekwe set up committees, including the one headed by the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu to investigate activities in the petroleum sector and report to her.
She had vowed that if any official in the petroleum sector was found to have been involved in illegal deal, such a person would be made to face the full wrath of the law.