Why there is massive corruption in NNPC – Saraki

By The Citizen

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday, attributed alleged massive corrupt practices in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to lack of operational budget framework.

Saraki said such an era where there was deliberate non-provision of operational budget for the Corporation was gone for good as will not be tolerated by the 8th Senate.

The Senate President spoke while receiving members of Civil Society Groups in Abuja.

He added that transparency and accountability must be brought to bear in all government transactions.

Saraki said: 'On the issue of transparency of oversight, which you raised here, we will work very hard to see the areas where there can be improvement on our part.

'The budget process which you talked about, I want to tell you that some of us have strong views that issues of budget must be transparent, particularly the days are gone where agencies like the NNPC would be able to function without operational budget.

'We must move away from that because one of the key issues that we have now is the issue of revenue leakages because of lack of transparency. I think we must move away from that, especially agencies that have revenue coming in.'

He added that the red chamber will reintroduce the Constitution Amendment Bill, which was not assented to by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

Other Bills to receive priority attention, according to Saraki include the Petroleum Industry Bill and the Electoral Act.

He said the Senate under his leadership would focus on people-centered legislation, that would safeguard the interest and welfare of every Nigerian.

The Convener of the Groups, Clem Nwankwo, praised the election of the leadership of the Senate and that of the House of Representatives, adding that independence of the legislature will expedite development in governance.

He solicited the support of the National Assembly on while such bills as the ones on people living with disabilities, Electoral Acts as Amended, Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and the Constitutional Amendment. He urged the Senate to ensure their passage.

Nwankwo said: 'With respect to several Bills that have been going on, we did see the National Assembly passed several bills in the 7th Assembly. One of them, of course, was the Disability Bill.

'We know that it was passed by the 7th Assembly but we have no indication that it was assented to by the President and we believe that it is important that the National Assembly takes this as one of the priority Bills for the 8thAssembly so that if it is not assented to by the President, we know that the National Assembly has powers to ensure that this Bill comes into effect.

'We also know that the National Assembly worked on the issue of the Electoral Act Amendment.

'The 2011 elections were conducted and lessons learnt from those elections, which were included in that amendment made in the Electoral Act.

'We know that the National Assembly passed that amendment but we did not have any indication that the former President assented to it.

'Very importantly, we know that the Constitution was amended by this National Assembly and the amendments that were made were the far-reaching amendments of any amendment to a life document.

'This amendment covers making justifiable some of these institutional and economic rights as contained in the present constitution.'