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Human rights lawyer and senior advocate, Femi Falana says the threat by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) not to remit money into the federation account in May is an attempt to blackmail both federal and state governments into accepting deregulation policy of the downstream sector.
Falana made the assertion on Thursday during a lecture delivered in honour of Prof. Omotoye Olorode in Abuja.
Falana said: “The Auditor-General of the Federation has revealed that between 2010 and 2014, $16 billion worth of crude oil was not accounted for by NNPC. Also, Revenue Mobilisation and Allocation Commission (RMAC) and Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) have come out to say that NNPC has failed to remit to the federation account, about $22 billion dividends paid by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
“NNPC has not, up to this moment, denied any of these serious allegations. So, if they say there is no money now, it is meant to blackmail Nigerians that the corporation won’t remit money because it is paying for subsidy. Federal and state governments would then move to stop subsidy so they can have money to pay salaries, allowances and pension, among others.
“But Nigerians must tell government that there are alternative sources. We have written to the President about how government can recover the N94 billion. We are going to insist now that recovering this money is the way to go.”
Falana also said Federal Government should compel NNPC to “return unremitted money between 2010 and 2014 and another N94 trillion oil money held by oil operators.”