DEPARTMENT OF STATE SERVICES ‘LAYS SIEGE’ TO NNPC, QUIZZES DIRECTORS

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has laid siege to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), with several directors taken in for interrogation, a senior official of the corporation has said. Ian Udoh (pictured), group executive director for refining and petrochemicals at the NNPC, told Reuters he has been grilled 11 times since the end of May. He said there is a “siege mentality” in the corporation at the moment and that pressure has been dominating management meetings of the organisation. “The DSS has been harassing some of us… There is a siege mentality here at the moment,” he said. The corporation, which has been enmeshed in corruption allegations over the years, has come under barrage of criticisms in recent times. Only on Monday, Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, accused the firm of monumental fraud, calling on the federal government to “kill NNPC”. “If you don’t kill NNPC, NNPC will kill Nigeria,” he said. “The situation of our oil industry is best exemplified by the parallel government called the NNPC. In 2012, it sold N2.77tn of ‘domestic’ crude oil but paid only N1.66tn to the federation account. In 2013, it earned N2.66tn but paid N1.56tn to FAAC; in 2014, (it earned) N2.64tn, but remitted N1.44tn; while between January and May 2015, it earned N733.36bn and remitted only N473.2bn. “That means that the NNPC only remitted about 58 per cent of the monies earned between 2012 and the first half of 2015. A company with the audacity to retain 42 per cent of a country’s money has become a veritable parallel republic!” President Muhammadu Buhari has consistently expressed dissatisfaction with NNPC. Shortly before he dissolved the corporation board, Buhari told governors that he had it on good authority that a lot of illegal activities were taking place in NNPC. The National Economic Council (NEC) has set up a four-man committee to examine NNPC books and submit a report by its next meeting scheduled for July 23.

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