Falana accuses NNPC of secret agenda with ‘no remittance’ threat
•Asks corporation to pay unremitted money
•Jega urges labour to challenge bad govt policies
The threat by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) not to remit money into the federation account in May is an attempt to blackmail both federal and state governments into accepting deregulation policy of the downstream sector, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana has said.
At a lecture delivered in honour of Prof. Omotoye Olorode in Abuja, yesterday, Falana said Federal Government should compel NNPC to “return unremitted money between 2010 and 2014 and another N94 trillion oil money held by oil operators.”
Falana said: “The Auditor-General of the Federation has revealed that between 2010 and 2014, $16 billion worth of crude oil was not accounted for by NNPC. Also, Revenue Mobilisation and Allocation Commission (RMAC) and Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) have come out to say that NNPC has failed to remit to the federation account, about $22 billion dividends paid by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
“NNPC has not, up to this moment, denied any of these serious allegations. So, if they say there is no money now, it is meant to blackmail Nigerians that the corporation won’t remit money because it is paying for subsidy. Federal and state governments would then move to stop subsidy so they can have money to pay salaries, allowances and pension, among others.
“But Nigerians must tell government that there are alternative sources. We have written to the President about how government can recover the N94 billion. We are going to insist now that recovering this money is the way to go.”
In his presentation titled “Labour and the quest for Nigeria’s development: Reflections and prognosis on the way forward”, Falana took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly dividing the country through his body language and lopsided appointments.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, also lambasted labour movement for abandoning the traditions of the founding fathers such as Michael Imoudu, Nduka Eze, Wahab Goodluck, Hassan Sunmonu and Ali Chiroma.
He submitted that erosion of labour tradition started in Pascal Bafyau era, noting that the movement has continually suffered lack of clear-headed, unambiguous and principled stand on national development from Bafyau to Adams Oshiomhole, down to Abdulwahed Omar and presently under Ayuba Wabba.
Falana was quick to add that labour could still rediscover and reassert itself as the beckon of hope for the Nigerian masses. Former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, who chaired the occasion, said the labour movement had a crucial role to play in ensuring emergence of a government that is built on social justice.
“Labour had played that role in the decolonisation process in this country. But since the era of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), labour has been declining in opposing unfriendly policies that are affecting the Nigerian people. A new Nigeria is still possible and there is need to find ways and means of energising the labour movement and ensure it is positioned to play its roles within nation-building excellently well,” Jega advised.
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