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Ex-Vice President Atiku rejects FG’s transfer of oil revenue to CBN

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Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general elections, has said the Federal Government’s directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria to receive the oil proceeds is illegal.

The former vice president, in a statement on Thursday, said Tinubu’s directive ridiculed the operational independence of the national oil company.

Atiku said, “Without prejudice to the possibility of any good that was intended in the decision of the Federal Government to make the Central Bank of Nigeria take over the responsibility for crude oil sales proceeds from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, it must be clearly stated that the action is not legal in its application.”

Atiku said that little has been done to explain the details of the decision and added that “Whatever may be the merit of the new arrangement, the presidential directive is a violation of the legal status of the NNPCL.”

He said, “It is an arbitrary order capable of undermining the operational independence of the NNPCL.

“By this order, Mr President has wrested control of the finances of the NNPCL and donated the same to the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“This is an unprecedented act without any legal or ethical basis. It is also a violation of the principle of due process in public administration. State-owned enterprises are not subject to such arbitrary orders and have full control over their finances within the confines of their respective establishment laws.

“The NNPCL is a creation of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 (PIA), which was signed into law by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 16 August 2021.

“The PIA makes extensive provisions for the formation, structure, governance, and operation of the NNPCL as an independent limited liability company in Sections 53 to 65 of the Act.

“The government must, therefore, respect the provisions of the law and allow the NNPCL to run as an independent company based on sound commercial objectives and in line with international best practices and standard principles of corporate governance.

“Only then would the new NNPCL grow into a formidable institution with track records, requisite technical and financial capacity, and readiness to operate in public space.”

“The NNPCL is a creation of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 (PIA), which was signed into law by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 16 August 2021.

“The PIA makes extensive provisions for the formation, structure, governance, and operation of the NNPCL as an independent limited liability company in Sections 53 to 65 of the Act.

“The government must, therefore, respect the provisions of the law and allow the NNPCL to run as an independent company based on sound commercial objectives and in line with international best practices and standard principles of corporate governance.

“Only then would the new NNPCL grow into a formidable institution with track records, requisite technical and financial capacity, and readiness to operate in public space.”

The former Vice President urged Tinubu to let the Apex Bank for its constitutional functions.

“Let it also be stated that the Central Bank Act 2007 does not confer on the Central Bank of Nigeria any responsibility for vetting the transactions of, or formulating and maintaining the internal controls and internal audits in state-owned enterprises, public or private.

“The CBN should be allowed to perform its core functions as provided in the extant law. To enhance transparency and accountability in the operation of the NNPCL, its bank accounts for crude sales proceeds (for example, at Morgan Stanley) and the entire crude sales conversion circle can be trailed by the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and CBN,” the statement reads.

 

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