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Group Faults Minister’s Comment On Nigeria’s $62bn Loss To IoCs

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A group known as Accountable Leadership For Better Nigeria Initiative (ALBNI) yesterday faulted a recent statement credited to the minister of state for petroleum resources, Timipre Sylva, that Nigeria cannot recover $62billion debt owe the country by International Oil Companies.

The minister was said to have made the statement while answering questions from State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, recently.

In a statement signed by the executive director, ALBNI, Remi Adebayo, the group said, ‘‘If the above statement was indeed made by Mr. Timipre Sylva, then it is unbecoming of a minister to assume the role of the mouthpiece and insider representative of the oil companies against the economic development of Nigeria and against the federal government’s fight against corruption and economic sabotage.

‘‘In a consent judgment in SC/964/2016 between Bayelsa State, Rivers and Akwa Ibom States Versus the Federation, the Supreme Court of Nigeria on 17 October 2018 ordered the federal government of Nigeria, ‘to adjust the share of the government of the federation in the additional revenue under all the production sharing contracts in Nigeria’s oil industry with the Inland Basin and Deep Offshore areas as approved by the federal government from the respective times the price of crude oil exceeded twenty dollars ($20.00 USD) per barrel in real terms and to calculate in arrears with effect from August 2003 and recover and pay immediately all outstanding statutory allocations due and payable to the states arising from the said adjustments.’

‘‘The above is a clear order of the Supreme Court of Nigeria which, the federal government of Nigeria and the entire federation are the ultimate beneficiaries and which every person is bound to obey and enforce. Mr. Timipre Sylva cannot through his statement overrule the Supreme Court on a debt already recognized by the apex court and ordered to be recovered.

‘‘As directed by the Supreme Court, the Federal Government on 3 December 2018 set up a joint committee comprising the best technical, accounting and legal experts to calculate and advice the federal government of the outstanding and unpaid difference inclusive of interests over the years owed by the oil companies to Nigeria.’’

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