The Senate has resolved to investigate the ongoing oil and gas lease renewal being undertaken by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
The lawmakers took the decision on Wednesday following a motion sponsored by Senator Omotayo Alasoadura at plenary in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.
Senator Alasoadura accused the minister and the DPR of perpetuating irregularities capable of denying the government revenue in excess of $10billion, as a result of alleged illegal discounts and rebates in the process of lease renewal.
Senator Shehu Sani, on his part, said the issue of lease renewal had been a major discourse in the last one week.
He was hopeful that a thorough investigation into the issue would open “a whole can of worms” on the matter.
“There have been series of motions related to this issue and I think further investigation is required,” Senator Sani said.
On his part, Senator Umaru Kurfi said, “We cannot be seen folding our arms on this issue. We have to take deliberate steps to end these discrepancies and call in the Minister of State for Petroleum for further investigation.”
Senator Gbolahan Dada also suggested that the Senate invites Dr Kachikwu, as the matter that needed to be addressed was “lack of enforcement”.
But Senator Rafiu Ibrahim believes the minister cannot approve issues such as this and asked the lawmakers to expand the list of those to be called in for investigation.
The Senate consequently resolved to mandate the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) to investigate the issue and report back to the chamber.
The committee was also directed to identify measures to correct the purported anomalies in the lease renewal.