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Probing $17bn looting of crude oil and gas necessary —ANEEJ

The proposed plan by the National Assembly to probe the alleged looting of crude and gas totalling over $17billion between 2011 and 2014 has received a boost.

Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Reverend David Ugolor, who gave the commendation in a release he personally signed and made available to Nigerian Tribune, was of the opinion that probing this fund would go a long way in sanitising the corruption-ridden country, as well as take it out of the current economic woods.

According to him, ‘‘The latest plan by the National Assembly to unravel whatever circumstances which may have led to the theft of national resources to the extent that we are now in recession is a welcome development. We believe that if proceeds from oil and gas were effectively managed, it would not have opened up room for as huge as heist of $17billion. Though the time span indicated by the lawmakers is a start, a probe from 2011 to 2014 barely can address the remote causes of the huge loss to Nigeria, and all the individuals behind the oil heist.”

While expressing hope that those behind the stealing of the collective resources must not only be tracked, but identified and brought to book, ANEEJ noted that the probe would facilitate the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill(PIB).

“ We at ANEEJ are interested in the success of the probe of the over $17 billion,  which to us, will further draw attention to the need to quickly pass the PIB which seeks to regulate the oil and gas sectors and check corruption and cases of fraud.

“As much as we support the National Assembly in its plan, setting up a concurrent template for the use of monies to be recovered  from this probe is very crucial. If this can be done quickly, there will be no need for Nigeria to tinker with the idea of selling off its national assets.

“The alleged National Assembly probe of oil and gas accruals from 2011 to 2014 must be able to set the benchmark for the proper account of the number of crude oil barrels Nigeria produces per day,’’ the release stated further.

“The hitherto practice of multinationals giving unverifiable number of barrels of crude from Nigeria   which is another form of stealing will be regulated,’’ added Rev erend Ugolor.