Human rights lawyer Femi Falana has called on Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Olawale Edun, to direct the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to remit $34.2 billion to the federation account. This money is said to have been received on behalf of the government from Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) between 2004 and 2021. In a letter dated October 25, 2023, Falana threatened to file a suit at the Federal High Court for the immediate recovery of the sum from NNPCL if it refuses to make the remittance.
Falana referenced a Senate committee hearing in April 2019, where NLNG General Manager Eyono Fatai-Williams revealed that NLNG had paid dividends of over $18 billion to Nigeria through NNPCL between 1999 and 2019. She also noted that NLNG had paid $9 billion in taxes to the Federal Government from 2011 onward and had remitted $15 billion for gas to NNPCL since the company’s inception.
However, the suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, who was present at the hearing, disclosed that the funds paid by NLNG were not remitted to the federation account but were warehoused by NNPCL. The Public Accounts Committee directed the Accountant-General to investigate the actual remittances to the federation account, any deductions made by NNPCL, who authorized the deductions, and the exchange rates applied for the remitted amounts over the years under review. This situation has raised concerns about transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s energy sector.