Reps Order Navy to Produce Records of Oil Trading Vessels in Nigeria Since 2017
Smarting from the discovery of 23 phony companies doing business with the NNPC since 2017, lawmakers in the Nigerian House of Representatives have demanded that the Nigerian Navy provides details of vessels that imported petrol and exported crude oil from 2017 till date.
The House Adhoc Committee probing petroleum products subsidy regime from 2017 to 2022l, also demands that in 7 days, the Navy should provide details of the owners of such vessels, the importers, exporters, delivery ports, as well as the nature and quantity of products taken out or brought into within the period in review.
The committee headed by Hon Ibrahim Al Mustapha, made the demands during its resumed investigative hearing yesterday.
The newly inaugurated Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd got an intriguing smear on Wednesday when the lawmakers revealed that a memo from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) had indicated that 23 oil marketing companies doing business with Nigeria’s state oil company were not legal entities in Nigeria.
The House ad-hoc committee investigating subsidy regime payments during the period in review reported that the companies, despite the volumes of businesses they did in the oil sector in Nigeria, did not have registration records with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
The Committee yesterday directed the Navy to provide details on vessels that were arrested, details of the ownership of such vessels, the agencies the vessels were handed over to, the contents of the vessels, their current locations, as well as the status of the contents of the vessels.
Director of Lesson Learnt of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral E Ogaula, who represented the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, had earlier told Committee that it is only information passed to them by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) that they record in their file.
“The Navy only assists the NNPC in ensuring that things work the way it is supposed to. It is not the lead in terms of tanker nominations and all these issues of oil lifting and so. It is the information passed to the Nigerian Navy by the NNPC that we record in our file.
“Sometimes NNPC might pass information and we record it and at the end of the day some of them are cancelled, some are not. The information we have which we have passed to you are the information sent by NNPC,” he said.
The lawmakers showed their displeasure over answers provided by then Navy officers. A member, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, pointed out that the waterways are under naval care, stressing that the idea of pushing responsibility over to the Navy is not acceptable.
“The waterways are under your care, therefore independent of what NNPC does, it is your mandate. To say you only rely on what is coming from NNPC does not inspire confidence in Nigerians who allow you to monitor what comes into the country. I know the Navy has a record of every tanker coming or going out that has products that have to do with oil and gas,” he said.
Another member, Mark Gbillah, said are taken aback by the Navy response on such a issue. “Is the Navy telling us today with regards to the inflow of vessels and vessels leaving this country, with regards to specific issues that pertain to the NNPC, you rely only on NNPC’s information? So where then is the role of the Navy?” he queried.