The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, Mr. Waziri Adio, yesterday disclosed that the nation earned N70trillion from oil between 1999 and 2014.
He said 90 per cent of the corrupt practices in the country are probably being perpetrated in the oil sector.
But he said his agency was handicapped in dealing with oil firms and the cartels in the industry because the NEITI has no enforcement mandate.
Adio reeled out the figures to a stunned audience at the high-level seminar to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day 2016.
The theme of the seminar was: “Corruption: An impediment to the Sustainable Development Goal.”
The session was attended by the Chairman of the NEITI, Dr. Kayode Fayemi (who is also the Minister of Mines and Steel Development), the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, representatives of UNODC, UNDP, E, the US Embassy and many civil society organizations.
But Adio’s disclosure of the huge revenue from oil in 15 years shocked the audience.
He said: “The oil and gas sector is a very strategic sector to our economy because this is where much of our revenue comes from. It is conceivable that 90 per cent of the corruption in the country is either happening in that or out of the proceeds of that sector.
“It is a sector that is so important; it is also a sector that is technical. Between 1999 and 2014, Nigeria earned about N70trillion from oil.”
He also confirmed that about $12.9billion was paid by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) company to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), but it was not remitted into the Federation Account.
He added: “NLNG paid $12.9billion to NNPC. The oil company acknowledged receiving it, but did not remit it. We need citizens to ask questions. We can also ask: What can $12.9b buy?”
Adio, however, said the NEITI was handicapped because it has no enforcement power against oil firms or cartels shortchanging the nation.
He added: “We make recommendations; we cannot enforce. We identify people behind all these challenges in the oil sector; we cannot prosecute. We have to refer them to the EFCC.”
On his part, Dr. Fayemi said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is “running an anti-corruption agenda anchored on prevention; sanctions and enforcement; and recovery of proceeds of corruption.”
He said: “The debilitating effects of corruption cannot be over emphasized. It not only undermines development, but it is an enabler for other crimes and anomalies, thereby perpetuating a vicious cycle. It goes without saying that if we are to make significant progress on developmental issues, corruption must be reduced to the minimum.
“There is no denying the fact that our country has massive corruption problems. We must acknowledge, however, that we have not been idle in our bid to combat corruption. Efforts directed at fighting the monster in Nigeria are as old as the country itself.
“Nigeria has an array of legislations and institutions for fighting corruption. The institutions range from the police, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Office of the Auditor General at the federal and state levels to the ones created in this millennium such as the EFCC, ICPC, Bureau of Public Procurement and the NEITI among several others. The frameworks and the legislations are there in the constitution as well as the enabling Acts of the various anti-corruption agencies.
“At the international level, Nigeria was one of the first countries to sign on to the United Nations Against Corruption (UNCAC) when the document was opened for signature in Merida, Mexico in 2003.
“Following that commitment, we have been diligently fulfilling our treaty obligations, including undergoing review in the second cycle.
“Our range of legislations and institutions show that we have significantly domesticated the provisions of global instruments in the area of prevention and criminalization as well recovery of proceeds of corruption.”
Fayemi, however, said the administration of President Buhari was already tackling corruption headlong without sacred cows.
He also said corruption prevention mechanisms are also being institutionalized.
He added: “The current administration is running an anti-corruption agenda anchored on prevention; sanctions and enforcement; and recovery of proceeds of corruption. The sanction and enforcement mechanism is ensuring that there are no sacred cows.
“For the first time in our history, perceived untouchables have been touched, and people are voluntarily returning illicitly acquired assets.
Several prevention mechanisms are also being institutionalized. We are now as a matter of routine assessing corruption risks in our institutions to reduce vulnerabilities likely to enable corruption and impede service delivery.
“In this activity, we have prioritized those ministries, departments and agencies whose mandates interface with the most critical of the sustainable development goals. Today, as part of this commemoration, we have released the report of Corruption Risk Assessment conducted in selected sectors in the ministries of education, health and water resources. These are sectors most critical to the wellbeing of citizens.
“To ensure transparency and accountability in managing our resources, the government is also promoting beneficial ownership disclosures with emphasis on the extractive sector.
“The NEITI is working to develop an appropriate roadmap for these disclosures in accordance with the EITI principles. To further promote transparency within the polity, the government has signed on to the Open Government Partnership and developed an action plan for implementation.”