The Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) has denied the request of Femi Falana, lawyer and human rights acvitist, seeking to know how much revenue Nigeria is getting daily from the sale of crude oil.
Falana had asked the commission to disclose the revenue realised from the sale of the daily allocation of 445,000 barrels of crude oil from June 1, 2015 to December 31, 2017.
He also requested the amount utilised as subsidy and the amount remitted to the federation account from revenue realised from the crude oil sales within the period.
The lawyer also requested the quantity of crude oil refined locally and the amount spent on turn-around-maintenance of local refineries (with vouchers) within the period.
But in a reply dated March 1 and seen by TheCable, the NNPC told Falana that it is not in a position to provide him with the information “as your request is incongruous with, unsupported by and/ or outside the scope and purview of the Freedom of Information Act (with which he made the request.)”
In the reply signed by Sarah Ndukwu, general manager, litigation, arbitration and property law department, the NNPC said: “Be informed that the FOIA is not applicable to NNPC because it is not a public institution within the meaning of section 31 of FOlA.”.
“The NNPC is neither a legislative, executive, judicial, administrative nor an advisory body of government (which the said section applies to); it is a statutory corporation established for the sole purpose of managing Nigeria’s commercial interest in oil and gas sector and conducting trade in that respect.”
The commission added even if the FOIA applies to it, the information sought is “expressly excluded from the purview of the act by virtue of section 15(1)(a)-(c) thereof.”
It said the requested information is in the nature of “commercial, financial and trade secrets information, which obviously are either subject to non-disclosure agreements or whose disclosure could reasonably interfere with NNPC’s existing contractual obligations or harm third parties’ interests.
“In fact by the use of the word “shall” in the section, NNPC is obligated, in the absence of any prior consent by relevant third parties, to deny your request.”
While assuring Falana that it is a “law-abiding corporate citizen”, the cooperation further told him that his request “will not serve any public interest to public health, public safety or the protection of the environment as to bring it within the items exempted for disclosure under section 15(4).”