A House of Representatives panel has threatened arrest warrants against the chief executive officers of some international oil companies over their non-appearance to defend themselves on the billions of naira debts they allegedly owe the Nigerian government.
The ad-hoc panel on the huge debts and criminal acts of sabotage by oil markerters chaired by Rep Abdullahi Mahmud Gaya (APC, Kano) said during the continuation of hearing on the matter that the oil companies involved have been shunning the committee.
During the hearing held at the National Assembly, the lawmakers observed that the major oil companies such as Oando, Total, MRS, Forte Oil and NIPCO sent their lawyers to represent them instead of their chief executive officers.
Gaya said the nonchalant attitude of the oil companies was unbecoming and that if it continued they would be left with no option than to invoke their constitutional powers on arrest, adding that already, the panel uncovered billions of naira from the debts.
“Before we started this investigation, what we did as a committee was to sit down to digest and see the best way out. Fortunately for us, so far, we have uncovered a lot of money, huge amount of money,” he said. The committee consequently walked out all lawyers from the meeting, saying the representatives could not be held responsible for whatever that the CEOs did.
“We called PPMC to give us information on the outstanding of oil marketers and they provided the details. We then sent letters to 17 oil marketers to send in documents and tell us their own side of the story.
“We also requested that they come and defend it, but instead of doing that, they are sending representatives. Why are they sending persons that are not part of their organizations?” the lawmaker said.
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