By YEMI ADEBOWALE, yemi.adebowale@
Allegations of malfeasance against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation pour daily. It is bewildering that Maikanti Baru remains the boss of this behemoth despite tons of apparent wrongdoings. The latest is the information provided by the Department of Petroleum Resources to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum which contradicts claims by the NNPC that Nigeria is now consuming an average of 65 million litres of petrol daily. The DPR simply confirmed NGF’s publicised suspicion that the NNPC was reporting excessive petrol consumption figure to facilitate deduction of undue petrol cost (under-recovery) from domestic crude cost. This explains the shortfall in what NNPC remits to the Federation Account. The puzzled governors had to call for the DPR report because they could not understand why the consumption of petrol would jump from an average of 30 million litres per day three years ago to an average of about 65 million litres daily under a “change” administration.
NNPC is strongly suspected to be duping the federation with deceitful claims as subsidy on imported petrol. This is why the governors have been calling for an audit of the corporation’s petrol importation, claiming daily petrol consumption figures reported by the NNPC were overblown by the corporation, so that it could keep more money away from FAAC. In fact, NNPC even shockingly reported that daily consumption of petrol reached a peak of over 70 million litres per day “during the festive period of November and December 2017, and through the crises period.” What a country!
The most frightening aspect of the incriminating DPR report states: “There was never a time where PMS Truck Out (evacuation) reached 60 million litres per day. Additionally, the PPPRA evacuation data since January 2016 indicated average volume of 50 million litres per day.” Evidently, NNPC’s petrol subsidy claims are fraudulently based on supply and not evacuation or consumption. So, they just make all sorts of import claims and follow up with subsidy claims. For example, in May this year alone, NNPC made deductions totaling N31.12 billion as subsidy claims. That same month, it made another N57.79 billion deduction said to be “outstanding subsidy claims for 2017.” The methodology of Baru’s subsidy payment is evidently impervious. Besides, there are no budgetary provisions for subsidy. So, it is an aberration.
Prior to the DPR indictment, NNPC had been struggling to defend allegations of subsidy fraud against it by the Chairman of the NGF and Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari. Recently, the governor openly rejected the corporation’s outlandish claim of 60-65 million litres average national daily consumption of petrol. This was after a meeting of the NGF with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House. “Many of our international partners are saying that even if we are feeding Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana and Niger, we cannot consume more than 35 million litres per day. So, we are wondering where the 60 million litres is coming from,” remarked a visibly worried Yari.
I can vividly recollect that Ibe Kachikwu as NNPC GMD disputed the 35 million litres average daily consumption inherited from the Jonathan government, insisting that their checks found the figure was far less. Kachikwu then put the realistic national consumption figure at 23-25 million litres per day. Under a “change” government, Nigeria now consumes an average of 65 million litres daily under Baru. Who is fooling who? Another frightening trend is that alarming sums are daily expended on petrol importation by the NNPC without query. That was why the NNPC spent a monstrous $5.8 billion on the importation of 9.8 million metric tons of petrol in four months – October 2017 to January 2018 – without query. The NNPC under Baru has become an outlaw and bigger than virtually everybody in Nigeria. It persistently refuses to make correct remittances to the Federation Account for crude oil sold, yet, nobody queries this monster. Its recalcitrance stalled the last FAAC meeting for the distribution of May revenue because its remittance was less N20 billion, without any plausible explanation.
It was also observed at the FAAC meeting that “NNPC claimed it spent N3.5 billion on product leakages and pipeline vandalism, but the Department of Petroleum Resources, an agency that is supposed to keep such record, claimed ignorance of the amount”. Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun remarked: “We operate the NNPC as a business. We have invested public capital in that business; and we have expectations of return. And when that return falls lower than our expectations, then the owners of this business, which in this case are the Federal Government and states, need to act…We felt that some of the costs couldn’t be justified.”
Sleaze allegations against the NNPC under this “change” government are unending. The memo written by Kachikwu on sleaze in the corporation remains fresh in our memory. Contracts running into billions of USD were allegedly awarded exclusively by Baru, without due process. Some of them included the crude term contracts valued at over $10 billion; DSDP contracts valued at over $5 billion; the AKK pipeline contract valued at approximately $3 billion; various financing allocation-funding contracts with the NOCs valued at over $3 billion and various NPDC production service contracts valued at over $3 billion. Kachikwu further alleged that during the first year of Baru’s tenure, no contract was cleared by the NNPC board, despite legal and procedural requirements that all contracts above $20 million should be reviewed and approved by the board.
It is mystifying that Baru remains GMD while NNPC bleeds the nation. Judgement day is around the corner. I believe this.
Voodoo Statistics about Improved Electricity Generation
The expose by the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) on false generation figures being dished out by the federal government is mind-wrenching. For those who have not been following the story, the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) on Tuesday declared as false, government’s claims that power generation had peaked at 7,000MW since President Muhammadu Buhari came into office in May 2015. ANED said further that as at January 2015, Nigeria already had close to that generation figure. It also described as false, the government’s repeated claim that an excess generation of 2,000MW was idle.
Speaking through its Executive Director, Sunday Oduntan, ANED debunked claims of improvement in power generation in the country since Buhari assumed office. “Generation capacity as at January 2015 was 6,421 megawatts (MW) and not 4,000MW as often claimed by the government. Government has largely created more confusion in the operations of the country’s electricity sector, than it had helped it. A review of NERC’s Daily Energy Watch for January 28, 2015 would indicate a generation availability of 6,421MW, divided into peak of 4,230MW and constrained energy of 2,191MW. In other words, it is misleading to state that available generation has grown from 4,000MW in 2015, as a measure of progress, given that a volume of generation slightly under 7,000MW already or previously existed, prior to the beginning of this administration.
“Furthermore, there is no stranded 2,000MW. While there is an available capacity of 7,000MW, the best that can be generated, at this time is 5,000MW. This is because there is insufficient gas to power the thermal plants due to gas line limitations. For instance, the non-completion of the Oben pipeline, and the absence of a commercial framework that would encourage gas exploration are hindering gas supply. This, therefore, shows that very little had actually changed contrary to constant pronouncements by government. It is with much regret that we feel compelled to respond to the significantly distorted picture that has been painted by the Minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola,” ANED said.
As usual, the government will soon come up with a voodoo response to this grave allegation by ANED. But for how long shall we continue with government of propaganda? Nigerians want stable electricity supply with pre-paid metres in our homes, offices and factories; not bogus stories about improved generation without any impact.
Fayose and the Wages of Tyranny
With his unbridled tyranny, arrogance and over-confidence, Governor Ayodele Fayose all alone, destroyed his party and candidate in the Ekiti governorship election held last week. Prior to the election, Fayose had forced many grassroots politicians out of the PDP which he runs like a personal property. The loquacious Fayose is often seen abusing and cursing those with contrary opinion. Many PDP chieftains who could not endure his rampant tyranny simply left. Even his Attorney General left him few weeks to the election. The genuinely aggrieved PDP chieftains teamed up with the cerebral Kayode Fayemi of the APC and taught Fayose a bitter lesson at the poll. While Fayemi begged those he defeated during the primary election, Fayose went about mocking defeated PDP aspirants. This is the truth that must be told. Nobody should weep for Fayose.
The Angst of Plateau IDP
Governor Simon Lalong has evidently abandoned victims of herders’ attacks in Plateau State. This governor has been acting as if he’s one of the herders. He speaks more in support of the herders than his people. That was why Internally Displaced Persons at Geo-science camp, Jos South LG, pelted his convoy with stones last Saturday. Lalong had not visited the IDPs for three weeks after they were attacked and displaced from their homes. “We don’t want relief materials; we want to go back to our homes. The Fulanis are now occupying our homes and grazing their cattle on our farms. We want government to chase them away so that we can go back to our homes; we are not comfortable in this place,” chanted the IDPs.
As Lalong drove out, the IDPs began to pelt his convoy with stones, damaging three cars. They described him as “insensitive and irresponsible.”
The IDPs have every reason to be angry. Relief materials delivered to their camps are grossly inadequate. Some have died due to hunger and poor medical care. Besides, they are desperate to return home, but killer herders still roam freely in their towns and villages. Some Plateau youths had earlier attacked Lalong at the Government House, Jos, over his alleged support for killer herders. I believe the people of this state know what to do in 2019.
Boko Haram Attack in Boboshe
How many soldiers were killed when Boko Haram ambushed a military convoy at Boboshe village in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State last weekend? How many soldiers are still missing after the attack? How many military trucks did the terrorists take away? There are so many versions regarding casualties of the attack in Boboshe village. However, one thing all the versions agreed with was that a “defeated” Boko Haram ambushed our soldiers and took away some of their trucks. This is no good news for a government that claims the terrorists had been decapitated. A “beaten” Boko Haram came in their hundreds and ambushed the troops. This shows that the terrorists are still very potent. As I pen this piece, residents of Jilli community in Gubio LGA of Borno State have abandoned their village to Boko Haram. The terrorists attacked the area from the axis of Lake Chad, forcing the residents to flee. Boko Haram now controls Jilli. The earlier the military and government stop deluding themselves about a false victory, the better for our dear country.