Order-Paper Nigeria, has observed with bewilderment, recent reports of alleged financial scandals and dire breaches of due process in the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporations, NNPC.
Executive Director, OrderPaper Nigeria, Oke Epia, in a statement, Monday, said: “The flurry of consternation, condemnations and sundry reactions that have inundated the public space since news of the NNPC scandal broke is distressing to a nation long held in the grip of corruption, impunity and mind-boggling kleptocracy that have kept the mass majority of citizens in impoverishment and frustration.
“In the mass hysteria which has greeted the scandal, the swift reaction of the National Assembly, especially the Senate is note-worthy. While OrderPaper Nigeria commends the federal legislature for its quick response, it is needful to place on record concerns about existing gaps in the performance of the oversight function of the National Assembly.”
“These gaps have made the federal legislature invariably complicit in the current embarrassing scandal in the NNPC and past reports of corruption in the oil sector, which have collectively lowered the image and estimation of the Nigerian nation in the eyes of the world.
“While it is possible that the gaps in legislative oversight may not be as a result of willful negligence or incompetence on the part of relevant National Assembly committees and/or individual legislators, what is hardly in doubt is that the oil industry, which is the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, has suffered recurring deficits of productive legislative oversight over the years. This is in spite of the existence of several standing and ad-hoc committees of the Senate and House of Representatives; as well as many probes and reports into alleged corruption by successive assemblies since 1999.
“This is why OrderPaper Nigeria has initiated plans to deploy a special project called GIFT-OIL (Growth Initiative for Fiscal Transparency – Oil Industry Lot) to interrogate and ultimately help improve legislative oversight in the corruption-prone oil sector of the Nigerian economy.
“GIFT-OIL is a sub-project of GIFT-Nigeria, conceived by OrderPaper Nigeria to check corruption and help bring about positive enduring reforms in the fiscal space and public finance management generally of the country.
“GIFT-OIL, besides being tailored to strengthen oversight through capacity enhancement and increased openness in legislative activities, is also geared towards entrenching transparency, accountability and corruption-free oil sector.
“On the current unfolding scandal at the NNPC, OrderPaper Nigeria urges the National Assembly to be transparent in its intervention and seize this opportunity to clear doubts in the minds of critics and cynics alike that its probes and hearings are contrived dramas staged to divert attention from under-the-table deals cut with thieving executive officials and/or agencies legislators are meant to oversight.
“The National Assembly should note that the highly short-changed and increasingly restive Nigerian public will hold it to account on the swiftly announced intervention this time around.”