*As Senate gives corporation 7 days to clear fuel queues
By Lawrence Olaoye , Christiana Ekpa and Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Governors, under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) have reported the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to President Muhammadu Buhari for the inability of the corporation to remit to the Federation Account the Joint Venture Cash Call for five years.
This is just as the Senate yesterday issued a seven-day ultimatum to the NNPC to ensure that long queues in petrol stations clear.
Briefing State House correspondents after closed-door meeting with the President, at the Presidential Villa, NGF Chairman and governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari explained that the country was shortchanged by NNPC for five years when the oil price was high.
Regrettably, he stated, this took place when the Cash Call Joint Venture was high as the oil price was about $110 per barrel.
Explaining the reason for the meeting with the President, Yari flanked by Governors Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State and Simeon Lalong of Plateau State said, “The meeting is on the decision of NEC (National Economic Council) that the 7-man Committee was established to engage the NNPC and discuss a way forward so that we can be able to resolve the issue that is outstanding most especially on the remittances to the Federation Account.
“Yesterday (Wednesday) the 7-Man Committee sat with the NNPC group and today (yesterday) we have come to brief the President. One of the things is about how they are paying the Joint Venture batch four and we have seen that what is being remitted to the Federation Account to the entire people of Nigeria is lower and what is being paid for the Cash Call Joint Venture is higher than what is going to the Federation Account.
“So, we are concerned about that and NEC is concerned about that. So they told the committee under my leadership to engage with the NNPC to discuss a way forward.”
On what was the response of the President, he said, “The entire federation is being shortchanged by those activities. The NNPC since 2010, there were no payments of Joint Venture Cash Call when the oil was $110 per barrel up to when the President took over in 2015.
“So why the Federation Account is always low is because they are paying dual, paying the existing and at the same time paying the arrears.
“So we sat down with them to fine-tune how best we are going to get our partners to understand where we are more especially now the oil has started picking and the price is becoming moderately good and then we are slightly out of recession and we want to sustain that tempo.”
The governors are, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State (PDP), Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State (PDP), Simeon Lalong of Plateau State (APC), Abdulaziz Yari of Kebbi State (APC), Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State (APC) Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State (APC) and Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai of Kaduna State (APC)
The senate resolution asking NNPC to clear fuel queues in 7 days followed the unanimous adoption of the report of the joint committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) over the lingering fuel crisis in the country.
Presenting the report, the Chairman of the committee, Sen. Kabiru Marafa said that the committee recommended that NNPC be issued seven days ultimatum to ensure the disappearance of the queues from petrol stations across the country.
He also stressed the need for security agencies to ensure effective boarder control to check diversion of petroleum products to neighbouring countries.
Marafa added that the report also recommended that the Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR) should double efforts to enforce compliance with the government regulated pump price.
“During the recess, the committee moved around some cities including Abuja and Lagos to ascertain the situation on ground.
“When we think that we are making progress, we just realised that the queues were resurfacing at the stations.
“We also engaged with the NNPC and other stakeholders and we were informed that there were challenges of supply coupled with massive smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries for higher prices.
“Also there is the problem of marketers selling above approved pump price,’’ he added.
In his ruling, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki urged NNPC to ensure compliance with the resolution and endeavour to see that the queues disappearwithin seven days.