Leading rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has urged the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, to facilitate the recovery of $103bn lost by Nigeria on sale of oil.
Falana, in a letter to the leadership of the National Assembly, said if recovered, the country would have no need to approach China and the World Bank for loans.
He also noted that he drew the attention of the government to the loss of billions of dollars arising from the non-implementation of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Contracts Act.
Falana said, “We were equally compelled to call on the National Assembly to amend the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Contracts Act in favour of the Nigerian people.
“Although the call was ignored but we kept up the pressure on the executive and legislative branches of the federal government to do the needful.”
He commended the assembly for the passage of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts (Amendment) Bill, which he said would fetch the country the sum of $1.5bn per annum.
He added, “While we commend the Senate for the initiative in passing the Bill, we urge the National Assembly to ensure the recovery of the funds.
“In his reaction to our allegation of economic sabotage by the public officers who deliberately refused to implement the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act, the immediate-past Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, admitted that the non-implementation of the law by some unnamed public officers had led to a loss of oil revenue of over $60bn.
“But due to the reluctance of the federal government to enforce the law, the governments of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers states instituted an action at the Supreme Court in 2016 to compel the FG to recover the accrued royalties.
“In the judgment delivered in the case on October 18, 2018, the Supreme Court directed the FG to recover the royalties that had not been collected from the International Oil Companies for the past 18 years.
“Based on the judgment of the apex court, the FG demanded for the immediate payment of the sum of $62bn by the defaulting oil companies.”
Speaking further, Falana posited that if the National Assembly, “Is prepared to resist pressures from vested interests and muster the political will to recover the said fund, Nigeria will have no business begging for foreign loans from China, African Development Bank and the World Bank.”