The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions has issued a warrant of arrest for key government officials, including the newly appointed CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, and the Accountant General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein.
The move comes after the officials declined multiple invitations to appear before the committee and address pressing questions regarding their operations.
During the committee’s hearing on Tuesday, a motion to issue the arrest warrant was introduced by lawmaker Fred Agbedi, citing the persistent non-compliance of the invited officials. Agbedi emphasized that the parliament operates with a sense of urgency, having extended invitations four times without any response from the concerned individuals.
The motion received unanimous approval, leading to the issuance of arrest warrants for CBN Governor Olayemi Cardoso, Oluwatoyin Madein, and 17 others. The decision was reinforced by the committee’s chairman, Rep. Micheal Irom, who directed the Inspector General of Police to ensure the appearance of the accused officials before the committee on December 14.
The roots of this controversy stem from a petition anchored on the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) report of 2021. Fidelis Uzowanem, the petitioner, presented evidence that the NEITI report exposed fraudulent activities within the oil and gas industry dating back to 2016.
Uzowanem highlighted the concealment of illegal transactions involving the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPCL) and various oil companies. He alleged that funds meant for crude oil production were misappropriated through cash core payments, a method employed for money laundering.
The petitioner disclosed, “The 2024 budget of 27.5 trillion that has been proposed can be confidently funded from the recoverable amount that we identified in the NEITI report.” Uzowanem accused NNPCL of collaborating with oil companies, such as Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Ltd and Chevron, to launder funds through misrepresented payments.
Uzowanem claimed, “In 2021 NEITI reported that Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Ltd was paid 168 million dollars, but examination of submissions by the company shows that it received 292 million dollars.”
This alleged financial malpractice extends to other companies, including Chevron and Nigeria Agip Company, raising concerns about the integrity of financial reporting within the oil and gas sector.
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions remains resolute in its pursuit of accountability. The issuance of arrest warrants is a critical juncture in the investigation, putting high-ranking government officials on notice and emphasizing the gravity of the allegations brought forward by the petitioner.
The nation awaits the developments slated for December 14, when the accused are expected to face the committee and address the serious allegations against them.