The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has dismissed insinuation of an approved N36billion compensation said to be due to Alesa-Eleme community in Rivers State as royalty for playing host to the Port Harcourt Refining Company, a subsidiary of the corporation. A press statement by the corporation’s group general manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, traced the origin of the phantom compensation story to a traditional ruler, regarded as a claimant to the Alesa-Eleme traditional stool.
According to the corporation, the said traditional ruler went to town with the fake story after a purported meeting with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (HMSPR) and Board Chairman of the corporation, Dr. Emanuel Ibe Kachikwu.
NNPC affirmed that checks with the HMSPR indicated that no such meeting at which any such approval or promises were made took place, noting that the apparently fabricated story was designed to cause disharmony between the NNPC and the hospitable Alesa-Eleme Community.
The corporation emphasized that through the years, the Port Harcourt Refinery had enjoyed cordial relations with all the 10 communities in Eleme where the refinery is located, including Alesa Eleme and Alade Eleme through the Joint Community Relations committee (JCRC).
NNPC said the JCRC, comprising representatives from the various interest groups of the community, had been relating with the Management of PHRC on a sustained basis for creation and execution of development projects and needs of the communities.
While thanking the peace-loving people of Eleme for their love and hospitality through the decades, the corporation implored the community dwellers, especially the youths, to discountenance any such rumour of impending N36bn compensation as there was no such approval or payment to any entity.
Similarly, the Corporation has said that it has been faithfully remitting all revenues accruing to it to the Federation Account.
According to the NNPC, its GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru, gave the clarification to members of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) who were at the corporate Headquarters of the corporation in Abuja on an oversight visit recently.
Dr. Baru said allegations of non-remittance of funds had become a recurrent decimal over the years, occasioned in part, to the nature of the corporation’s operations which involved credit lines requiring constant audit and reconciliation.
“While the process of audit and reconciliation of accounts is on, a lot of accusations of short payments and non-remittances are usually traded, we endeavour to keep our cool on these allegations because we know that we remit whatever is due to the Federation Account”, he explained.
Further putting the issue in perspective, Dr. Baru stated that such allegations usually arose from disagreements over expenses borne by the corporation on behalf of the Federal Government.
On efforts by the NNPC to ensure that Joint Venture (JV) and Production Sharing Contract (PSC) partners do not run excessive bills at the expense of the nation, the GMD explained that apart from the establishment of an Efficiency Unit in the corporation to ensure value for money across all operations, NNPC had also done a lot in renegotiating contracts as well as benchmarking costs in keeping with international best practices, adding that the effort had yielded significant results in terms of reduction in the cost of crude oil production per barrel in the Industry.
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