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By NBF News
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The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) was yesterday asked to go after the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and expose alleged corruption in the agency after the defence of the 2011 budget performance.

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Anti-corruption, National Ethics and Values, James Faleke, said that ICPC needs to wake up from its slumber and show Nigerians that it was ready for the anti-corruption crusade.

The probe, the committee noted, would go a long way to sanitise the petroleum sector as the nation, including President Goodluck Jonathan were in the dark about the number of barrels of crude oil the country is producing daily.

'Nigerians need to know more about the effectiveness of the ICPC in the war against corruption. We are aware today that NNPC put the barrels of oil per day at 2.48million, nobody knows about the number of unaccounted barrels and it is generally believed that it is more. 'Even President Goodluck Jonathan does not know the correct figures of barrels of oil that Nigeria is producing on daily basis. He, like any other person, relies on the figures supplied by the NNPC.

'Your commission therefore should go after the NNPC in the war against corruption, you should design a system that will curb corruption in NNPC, this will help the country and Nigerians will see that ICPC is working.'

Faleke (ACN, Lagos) also tasked the commission to explore opportunities and assistance offered by donor-agencies to develop such systems that will expose corruption in public and private places, adding that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was benefiting from the donor-agencies. The problems of corruption, he added, was not a Nigerian affair alone, noting that the nation needed the cooperation and support of other countries to tackle the monster.

Some of the expenses incurred by the commission, however, came under close scrutiny and the acting Chairman of ICPC, Ekpo Owo-Nta, was asked to furnish the committee with details. The committee demanded for the number of staffers who benefitted from international travel and training at a cost of N66,592,913.13. Also, the committee expressed dissatisfaction with the amount of N70,123,921.22 spent on publicity and advertisement, adding that Nigerians are yet to see what the ICPC was doing to tackle corruption.

Responding to observations made by the committee, Mr Ekpo said that the commission would need more money to open offices in all the states, adding that the commission was under-staffed and under funded. According to him, the commission lacked the required personnel to fight corruption, stating that over 90 per cent of the staffers were recruited newly into investigation of corrupt practices.