The federal government has forwarded to Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) information on fuel importation and sundry matters.

The requested information was forwarded to the lawyer by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) which was acting on the directive of the Minister of state, Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachukwu as requested in his letter to the minister dated April 17, 2018.

A letter dated July 9 and signed by Kingston Chikwendo on behalf of the DPR to Falana and titled “Re: Request for Information on Fuel Importation and Sundry Matter” stated in part: “We humbly referred to your letter dated 17th April, 2018 to the Honourable Minister of State, Petroleum (HMSP) requesting for information on fuel importation and sundry matters.

“The HMSP has directed the DPR to provide you with the requested information.

“Consequently, we hereby forward to you the requested information as detailed in your letter”, it stated.

In his letter dated April 17, Falana had specifically requested the minister to provide him with copies of the documents relating to: “ Bill of laden and DPR certified cargo discharged certificates of the imported subsidized petroleum products into the country from December 2017 to March 2018; Offshore processing agreements pertaining to the sale of the 445,000 barrels of crude oil per day plus any additional crude barrels approved for domestic consumption from December 2017 to March 2018; Volumes of domestic refined products by the nations’ local refineries against gross expenditure on refinery turn around maintenance(TAM)/ expended budget in 2017”.

Others are “Gross amount of forex differential or forex subsidy (gap Between CBN rate and Special rate approved for fuel importation) from December 2017 to March 2018 and amount expended by PEF on Project Aquila from inception aimed at tracking petroleum trucks nationwide to prevent smuggling of petroleum products”.

Falana’s request followed disclosure by the management of the NNPC that the nation’s consumption rate of fuel was 28 million litres per day and that subsidy cost was N726 million per day, that is, N261.4b per annum.

He also recalled that on March 5, 2018, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru claimed that the figure had metamorphosed to 50 million litres per day and that NNPC had spent $5.8billion (N1.7 Trillion) on fuel importation in January and February 2018 and that at a public forum held in Abuja two weeks ago, the minister stated that the consumption rate of fuel has skyrocketed to 60 million and that the cost of subsidy is N1.4 trillion per month!

On the alleged subsidy of fuel importation, Falana reminded the minister that he failed to disclose the amount realized from the sale of the 60 million liters at N145 per liter.

“You have also conveniently failed to account for the sale of the 445,000 barrels of crude oil allocated to the NNPC daily by the federal government.

“Honorable Minister, the convenient defense of smuggling as cheap justification for a gap of 32 million litres a day (at N145 per litre is N4.6 billion daily) is untenable given the billions of Naira continually expended on Project Aquila Software by the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF), a Parastatal under your watch in the Petroleum Ministry, to track every litre of petroleum product evacuated from the Depots and sold at retail stations in the country”, Falana stated.

He argued “since the Project Aquila Software has capability to identify the owners and locations of all trucks loading petroleum products in Nigeria why has your office and NNPC continue to blame smuggling for the drain of N4.6 billion daily on petroleum products? How many of the Truck owners involved in the alleged smuggling have been arrested and arraigned in court since Aquila has the data base of all Truck Owners in the country?”, he asked.

The federal government blamed the increasing consumption rate on the smuggling of fuel from Nigeria to neighboring countries by some economic saboteurs.

Falana had insisted that the claims of the government does not explain the difference of 32 million litres per day between the consumption rate of imported fuel in December 2017 and March 2018 when it is assumed that

The total volume of fuel consumed by Benin, Togo, Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Ghana is said to be less than 250,000 litres per day.

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