Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honorable Aminu Tambuwal, on Wednesday, raised the alarm over huge unaccounted crude oil earnings in the country.
This came just as the Department of Petroleum Resources indicted an oil company, Universal Energy Resources Limited, over alleged diversion of crude oil.
This came to fore at an investigative public hearing on alleged diversion of crude oil deposit at Stubbs Creeks Marginal Fields in Akwa Ibom by Universal Energy Resources Limited, organized by House ad hoc committee chaired by Honorable Friday Itulah.
Honorable Tambuwal, while declaring the hearing open, said “in Nigeria, though crude oil has contributed largely to the economy, the revenue has not been used and accounted for.”
The speaker, who was represented by House Chief Whip, Honorable Ishaka Bawa, stated that “diversion of crude oil, bunkering and vandalism of oil pipelines constitute major leakage and economic sabotage to the nation.”
He added that “regrettably the surrounding communities within which the oil wells are located are further exploited by the exploration companies. Some of these communities still suffer environmental degradation, which leads to deprivation of means of livelihood and other economic and social factors.”
However, during the technical session, Honorable Itulah revealed that the investigative hearing was as a result of petition by youth development association of Mbo community, which alleged illegal diversion of crude by Universal Oil.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Universal Oil, Steve Okokoh, debunked the allegation, saying that the DPR was well represented at every level of the company’s operation in the area.
He added that at no time did the company use trucks to lift crude oil illegally, noting that the five trucks intercepted by the youth of the community was drilling mud from oil wells.
According to him, “On March 22, we planned to drill some wells. In doing so, we had to clear the wells’ mud. That was what the youth termed crude oil.”
But the DPR Product Manager (Upstream Department), Mr Amadasun Enoesen, punctured the claim, saying that crude oil was actually found in the intercepted trucks.
He added, “in whatever test carried out on hydrocarbon, DPR must be involved. However, we don’t have any record of approval granted to Universal Oil to truck crude oil.”
To this end, while adjourning the panel’s meeting, the chairman directed that the Commandant of NSCDC in Akwa Ibom appear before it on or before Friday.