Frontline rights lawyer, Femi Falana, on Wednesday accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of failing to remit over $20.2bn since the return of democracy in 1999 to date.
He made this assertion in Lagos while speaking at a National Seminar on Promoting Transparency and Accountability in the Recovery of Stolen Asset in Nigeria: Agenda for Reform.
During the event organized by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in collaboration with the Ford Foundation, USA; Falana said that, “Instead of piling up external loans the federal government should be compelled by the Nigerian people to embark on the immediate recovery and repatriation of hundreds of billions of dollars from the NNPC.”
According to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), “Transparency and accountability are interconnected to the application of economic, political and administrative management of the affairs of a state. The exercise of these affairs is that they must be seen to be exercised by the citizens of a state.
“Where a government parastatal such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is said to have failed to remit oil revenue to the tune of $20billion, issues of good transparency and governance becomes a crucial issue.”
Falana said in his paper that, “The Federal Government has to re-focus its recovery of stolen assets by vigorously pursuing recovery of assets from multinational corporations and not just the countries that illegally keeping the looted wealth of the country.
“The recovery of our looted wealth should also be extended to the few Nigerians who have been indicted in the Panama and Paradise papers.
“The EFCC and the Federal Inland Revenue Service should recover appropriate taxes from the offshore companies set up by such individuals.”
He called on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to “comply with the order of the federal high court which has directed the federal government to account for the loot recovered since 1999.”
The Seminar was attended by Eva Kouka, Senior Program Officer Foundation, Linda Ochiel Ford Foundation, Sonia Warner DFID, Osai Ojigho Director Amnesty International Nigeria, Adeniyi Kayode, Open Government Partnership, Obono Oblia, Senior Assistant on Prosecution to President Muhammadu Buhari, Oluseun Onigbinde of BudgIT, among others. Mr Abiodun Aikomo represented the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami SAN, and Bola Oyebamiji commissioner for finance represented the Osun State Governor Raul Aregbesola.