The Senate on Thursday resolved to investigate the alleged sale of oil Block, OPL 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited at $1.092 billion (about N178.812billion) by the Federal Government.
This resolution followed a motion moved by Ahmed Abdul Ningi (Bauchi Central) and supported by 46 other senators pointing out the legal and ethical issues arising from the transaction and pattern of distribution of proceeds to the beneficiaries.
Senator Ningi argued that the investigations should be conducted by an ad-hoc committee constituted by the Senate because issue involved oil resources, bank transactions and also raised issues of corruption.
He said Nigeria signed up to the Global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in 2003 and began implementation in 2004 and that the country later supported the policy with the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Act 2007.
According to the Senator, the objective of the Act as encapsulated in Section 2(a and c) of the Act, included ensuring due process and transparency in payments made by all extractive industry companies to the Federal Government and statutory recipients.
Senator Ningi insisted that the Act also seeks to eliminate all forms of corrupt practices in the determination, payment, receipts and posting of revenue accruing to the Federal Government from the extractive industry companies.
He expressed worries over recent clamour for a review of “circumstances surrounding a tripartite transaction involving the Federal Government, Shell/Agip as well as Malabu Oil and Gas Limited in respect of Oil Bloc referred to as ‘OPL 245’ to the effect that the Federal Government purported to sell OPL 245 to Shell/Agip Consortium in the sum of 1,092,000.000 United States Dollars.”
Despite an objection by Heineken Lokpobiri, the senate referred the motion to the senate’s selection committee to determine which of its standing committees should handle the probe.
The Red Chambers thereafter adjourned plenary till September 17, 2012.