The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has called on the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC to demonstrate more openness, accountability and probity in the administration of the petroleum sub-sector of Nigeria’s economy.
HURIWA, an advocacy group, made the call against the backdrops of the reported open bidding process for the Port Harcourt Refinery rehabilitation contract and a revelation that public funds running to the tune of $367 million were frittered away in a year on running the three publicly owned refineries without any of them refining a single barrel of crude.
National Coordinator of the group, Emmanuel Onwubiko said only voodoo economists would try to justify the wastage of public funds.
Onwubiko also expressed displeasure that the National Assembly has demonstrated a scandalous aversion for probity, accountability and transparency.
He insisted that the National Assembly was involved in a gang-up against public interest and public good by failing to conclusively determine the logic behind the inexplicable fact that $367 million was ‘spent’ in a year on the nation’s refineries but yet no single drop of crude was refined in those refineries.
A statement by Onwubiko reads partly: “We think that it is only voodoo economists that will try to justify the enormous wastage of such a colossal sum of money on nothing. We wonder the kind of unorthodox accounting and auditing process that will seek to justify this monumental disappearance of such a humongous amount of money on practically nothing.
“We can’t fathom how on Earth the huge bills of $367million USD could be ‘spent’ on nothing and indeed nobody is asking any critical questions and those elected and maintained at exorbitant cost to the taxpayers to do the oversight duties are so compromised that this does not matter in their legislative calculations.
“HURIWA like most patriotic Nigerians has still not recovered from the groundswell of shockwaves that swept around the Country as a result of the revelation that no white product (Premium Motor Spirit and Dual Purpose Kerosene) was produced in June 2020 and apparently for the past 12 consecutive months. The lack of production is due to ongoing rehabilitation works at the refineries.
“In the same period, operating costs for the country’s three main oil refineries, which the NNPC has shuttered pending revamps, totalled $367 million”.
On the plan to kickstart the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery, the Rights group expressed strong doubts that the management of “NNPC is capable of adhering to the terms of the contract to ensure early completion and commencement of refining of crude oil because of several public statements from the NNPC that they are much more comfortable importing fuel from Niger Republic than to do the needful by fixing the refineries on time.”
“HURIWA is aware that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has publicly opened bids for the Engineering, Procurement and Construction phase of the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC).”