Reps To APC: We Can't Probe Crude Oil Swap Twice
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, Hon.
Abdulmumin Jibrin, said the House through his committee has in the past
investigated the Crude Oil Swap between Nigeria and two indegineous firms,
following petitions from the Nigeria public, and as such the the House
can't waste it's precious time for another round of exercise.
The lawmaker, an All Progressives Congress (APC) member declared that “Our
House committee has been neck deep in querying and investigating NNPC,
Department of Petroleum Resources, Accountant General of the Federation
and the Federal Inland Revenue Service on a frequent basis about several
transactions that impact on the oil revenues paid into the Federation
Hon. Jibrin who threw more light on the crude oil swaps, said his
committee, had in the past, received several petitions on the programme,
and having carried out its own independent investigation on the
transactions, he had come to the realisation that “a lot of information
out there on the swap template is over-exaggerated”.
“This includes such transactions as crude oil lifting by companies in
exchange for petroleum products. While the importation of petroleum
products is not ideal for a crude oil-producing country, but these are
transactions that were put in place following NNPC's inability to meet
domestic demand for petrol and other products from its refineries.”
Hon. Jibrin was reacting to a call by the APC on the National
Assembly to probe the crude oil-for-petroleum-products barter programme
and particularly beam its searchlight on the activities of two indigenous
oil firms involved in the crude oil swaps.
According to him, such a call could be interpreted by the Nigerian public
to mean over-heating the polity and politicking on the activities of the
nation's oil industry with its adverse effects of scaring away foreign and
APC had on Sunday invited the House Committees on Petroleum (Downstream),
Petroleum (Upstream), Justice and Senate Committee on Finance to
investigate Taleveras and Aiteo, which had been engaged by the Nigerian
National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to lift some of its crude in
exchange for imported petroleum products.
He also cautioned the APC against being dismissive over the pedigree of
Taleveras and Aiteo, stating: “It is not the age of a company that
matters, but its ability to deliver.
“We have had companies that may have existed for decades but are later
sidelined by new entrants into the same business which are more efficient
and technologically savvy.”
Also, commenting on the statement by the party that the $2.85 billion bid
submitted by the two firms for the Shell oil block showed that they were
stupendously wealthy, Jibrin said this was not indicative of the liquidity
of Taleveras and Aiteo, as companies are known to raise such funds through
a combination of debt and equity.
“As is the case with most transactions, oil firms are known to hedge their
risk by utilising their network of contacts to pool together their sources
“I do not believe $2.85 billion is sitting in the bank accounts of
Taleveras and Aiteo. Even the likes of (Aliko) Dangote finance their
big-ticket transactions through debt and equity coming from various
partners. This is even more imperative for oil firms, which are known to
enter into partnerships to spread the risks associated with E&P
“So rather than make statements that might look like we are trying to
undermine indigenous oil firms, we should encourage them as part of our
goal to build local content in the oil and gas sector,” he said.
Nonetheless, Jibrin added that his reaction to his party's statement
should not be misconstrued as one asking the APC to turn a blind eye to
any underhand deal, stating: “We have a duty to carry out investigations
where necessary, but it should be done with the full information and
knowledge of what obtains in the oil and gas sector, and not just based on
He said while he would not want to take issue with the party, as is a
loyal member of APC who believes in the ideals and aspirations of the
party, he deemed it necessary to advise the party where a mistake has been
“I am a loyal member of the APC, I believe in the ideals of the party and
would continue to respect the party. I also recognise that parties all
over the world have the right to issue directives to their members in the
“However, the situation we have in the House today is peculiar because it
is polarised and suspicions abound that have served to deepen the
divisions in the green chamber instead of uniting us.
“For instance, my committee has 31 members comprising PDP (Peoples
Democratic Party) and APC members, so whenever APC issues a directive, our
colleagues from the PDP immediately gets suspicious about its intentions,
even where they are in the best interest of the country,” he said.
Jibrin stressed that he decided to speak up on the party's statement so
that the divisions and mistrust in the House would not get worse, adding:
“There is need for unity in the House, not deeper divisions. Right now,
the party should help unite the House so we can work together for the
larger interest of the country and people who elected us to represent
“This has nothing to do with the fear that some of us who defected from
the PDP to APC may be evicted from the House, because no one can ask us to
vacate our seats. However, there is a need to douse the tension in the
House so we can work together instead of working at cross-purposes, and
the party has a role to play in this.”
Jibrin further pointed out that given the depth of knowledge his committee
and others in the House have on NNPC's finances, the party should have
consulted its members before the statement was issued on the call to probe
the swap programme, Taleveras and Aiteo.