Human rights activist and lawyer, Femi Falana, has dragged the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) before the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) calling for investigation into fuel importation and smuggling of petroleum products to Nigeria’s neighbours.
Falana, in the petition dated September 15, said the anti-financial crime agency needs to urgently investigate the discrepancies observed in the daily consumption figures of PMS declared by the corporation at different public fora.
He explained that the investigation has become necessary following indictment on the Corporation and the Ministry of Petroleum by the Nigeria Customs Service on the actual figure. Falana also said it was surprising that the NNPC ignored the use of a software in tracking trucks loading fuel in the country.
Part of the petition addressed to the EFCC Chairman, AbdulRasheed Bawa, read in part: “Specifically, the agency said, ‘while the Lagos zone, with 25 depots, has 483,894,000, the Calabar/Eket Zone, with 7 depots, contains 78,731,000; Warri, with 11 depots, has 177,599,593; Port Harcourt, comprising 7 depots, has 96,011,000; Umuahia, 6,938,000, and Kaduna, 9,679,000.
“Barely 15 months later, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC claimed that 38.2 million litres had grown to over 102 million litres per day, from an average of about 60 million litres per day. He blamed the astronomical rise in the consumption rate of premium motor spirit on the growing activities of smugglers of the product.
“At a public forum on June 24, 2021, Kyari announced that the NNPC had concluded arrangements to collaborate with the EFCC, Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and other relevant security agencies to tackle the smuggling of petrol from Nigeria neighbouring countries. He also stated that the Federal Government had directed the NNPC to immediately cut down the consumption rate of PMS from the rate 102 million litres to 60 million litres.
“During his own appearance at the same public hearing last week, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) refuted the bogus figure of fuel allegedly smuggled out of Nigeria. In a rather scientific manner, Col. Ali exposed the fraudulent claim of the NNPC when he stated inter alia: ‘If we are consuming 60 million litres of petrol per day by their own computation, why in the world would you allow the lifting of 98 million litres per day?’
“So how do we get to 60 million every day? If you say this petrol is smuggled, if you release 98 million litres, and then we use 60 million litres, the balance will be 38 million litres. How many trucks will carry 38 million litres? Everyday; that’s almost 500. Which road are they following? Where are they carrying this thing to?”