Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer, has written a letter to Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, demanding information on the “loss of $60 billion oil revenue under the freedom of information (FOI) act.”
In the letter dated April 10, the human rights lawyer requested Kachikwu to provide details on how Nigeria lost $60 billion oil revenue from non-implementation of production sharing contract (PSC) terms between the federal government and international oil companies (IOCs).
Falana also disclosed that he had previously alerted the minister, who was then the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), of the non-implementation of the PSC terms.
The PSC terms between government and IOCs clearly spell out the amount of money that the country receives in signature bonuses, taxes and royalties and how much oil or gas the companies must share with the government during production and contributes largely to government revenue.
Giving more reasons for his request, Falana said even Kachikwu himself had confirmed the huge oil revenue loss, blaming it on “public officials,” with a more recent confirmation made by the acting chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
The human rights lawyer gave the minister a seven-day ultimatum to provide the requested information, saying that he will be forced to seek a court order if Kachikwu fails to do so.
The letter sent to TheCable Petrobarometer on Sunday, read in part: “In my letter addressed to you in your capacity as the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), I called your attention to the refusal of the regulatory agencies in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to enforce the Production Sharing Contracts signed with the International Oil Companies by the Federal government.
“In a public statement credited to you sometime in August 2017, you did disclose to the media that Nigeria had lost not less than $60 Billion due to the refusal of some public officials to implement the terms of the Production Sharing Contracts between the Federal Government and the International Oil Companies.
“In another public statement made on January 19, 2019, by the Acting Chairman of the Revenue, Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Mr. Shetima Bana confirmed the loss of oil revenue of $60 billion arising from the non-implementation of the said production sharing contracts.
“In view of the foregoing, I am compelled to request you to furnish me with information on the revenue of $60 billion which the Federal government has refused to collect from the International Oil Companies as at August 2017. As this request is made pursuant to section the provision of the Freedom of Information Act you are required to supply the requested information not later than 7 days from the date of the receipt of this letter.
“TAKE NOTICE that if you fail or refuse to accede to my request, I shall be compelled to apply to the Federal High Court to direct you to avail me with the information on the loss of the oil revenue of $60 billion.”
Responding to Falana, a letter signed by Oge Modie, chief of staff of the petroleum ministry, acknowledged receipt of the FOI request on April 11.
“On behalf of the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, this is to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 10th April 2019 and received 11th April 2019 on the above subject matter,” the letter read.
“Please accept the assurances of the Honourable Minister’s best regards.”