Femi Falana, human rights lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate Nigeria’s fuel importation as well as mismanagement of fuel subsidy by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.
Falana said this in a letter dated September 12, written to Abdulrasheed Bawa, chairman of EFCC.
He also asked the commission to investigate petrol smuggling activities to neighbouring countries.
Earlier in the month, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had faulted claims by NNPC Limited that Nigerians consume “60 million litres of petrol daily”.
It further alleged that the oil company was supplying an excess of 38 million litres of petrol daily since “98 million litres” were lifted daily from the depots.
However, NNPC Limited insisted that 68 million litres of petrol was supplied across the country.
Also responding to the oil company’s claims, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) said the average daily truck out for 2022 is 62.95 million litres per day — later changing the figure to 66.8 million litres per day.
But both figures contradict the quantity announced by NNPC Limited, as the volume consumed in the country.
Therefore, Falana said it was clear that the NMDPRA, the ministry of petroleum resources and the NCS have shown that the figures of fuel importation by the NNPC are “bogus and fraudulent”.
“The monumental fraud was confirmed when the NNPC cut down the supply of fuel from 102 million litres to 62 million litres per day on the basis of the orders of the federal government!” he said.
“Having regards to the indictment of the NNPC by the authorities of the ministry of petroleum resources and the Nigeria Customs Service, we are compelled to request the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate and expose the monumental fraud that has characterised fuel importation and the mismanagement of fuel subsidy by the NNPC as well the criminality of smuggling fuel from Nigeria to neighbouring countries.”
Falana also asked the EFCC to “find out the quantity of barrels of crude refined locally and in foreign countries including West African states”.
“It may interest the EFCC to know the petroleum equalization fund spends billions of naira annually on project aquila software which has a mechanism for tracking all trucks loading fuel in Nigeria,” he added.
“But the NNPC has deliberately refused to use the software to track the trucks allegedly involved in the loading and smuggling of fuel to neighbouring countries.
“With respect to the theft of 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day the NNPC has also refused to liaise with Lloyds Intelligence Report and Thompson Reuters Ekon (both are energy information providers like Platts) which have the record of all cargoes arriving at the international seaports in all countries including our neighbouring countries.
“If NNPC as a subscriber to both bodies is interested in tracing refined products under-delivered, round-tripped or crude oil smuggled from Nigeria, it can apply for the discharge certificates of all ships that delivered refined products to all vessels that off-take crude oil from Nigeria on a daily basis.
The senior lawyer further promised to assist the commission’s team of investigators in “exposing the fraudulent importation of fuel and the smuggling of the product to neighbouring countries”.