Despite the fact that the nation’s oil and gas sector had witnessed a requisite growth since its independence, one regrettable point is its susceptibility to fraud and sleaze.
The infractions being committed by oil and gas companies have become another source of worry for keen observers in the sector, who said the development had eaten deep into the fabric of the nation’s economy.
They also said needed investment that would spur the growth of the sector would fritter away if the locust feeding fat on it is not gotten rid of in no time.
To ensure that issues bordering on infractions in the oil and gas sector are quickly resolved, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have concluded plans for better collaboration.
Mr. Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary of NCDMB, announced the plans when the management of the Board paid a courtesy visit to the Acting Chairman of EFFC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, at the Commission’s new Head Office in Jabi, Abuja last week.
According to him, the collaboration had become imperative in order to fastrack investigations that are related to fraud by oil and gas companies in the country.
He explained that the Board plans to refer serious fraudulent discoveries from its audit to the Commission for further action.
“The Board will like to initiate the development of a MoU between the two agencies to enable quick deployment once the services of the Commission are required”.
We regularly receive alerts via the whistleblowing portal on our website. We do our bit to investigate such alerts and believe some of the major findings may be needed for referral to EFCC,” he explained.
Wabote noted that the EFCC is one of the key agencies driving one of the core programs of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, adding that the Commission has succeeded in building a reputation for itself both locally and internationally as a fearless fighter in the war against corruption.
‘‘Thus, the Board is fully aligned with Mr. President’s fight against corruption. This is why the Board attends to requests for information or clarifications about contract and oil and gas transactions under EFCC investigation expeditiously.
He disclosed that the Board has put in place an Anti-Corruption and Transparency Monitoring Unit, headed by a senior member of the management team, to tackle corruption and unethical behavior among other forms of infraction and to investigate any internal infractions.
To foster a deeper relationship, Wabote noted that the Board needs the support and expertise of EFCC to fight corruption
Observers are of the opinion that the collaboration between the two agencies in fighting infraction in the oil and gas industry was a salutary one.
Taiwo Adelugba, an energy expert told DAILY INDEPENDENT that the involvement of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in normalising the infractions in the oil and gas companies in Nigeria would bring a lasting confidence in the industry.
“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is known for its accelerated approaches to financial improprieties and this is no doubt is what the country needs to fix the sector that is grappling with corrupt tendencies of individuals and companies.
“The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) had also done well in enforcing standards in the sector in line with its mandate as well as bringing the issue of infractions therein to the front burner through collaboration with the EFCC”.
To him, operators in the sector should also key into the mission of the two agencies to rid the nation’s oil and gas sector of infraction, adding that doing so would also impact positively on the economy.
Another expert, Samson Adah, said the collaboration between the two agencies to fight infractions in the sector was in order, but should be taken beyond rhetoric by the government.
“If we appreciate the enormity of corruption in the sector and infractions perpetrated by some oil and gas companies therein, then the two agencies must buckle up for the great task and must be given the necessary support by all and sundry in the interest of the nation’s economy”
Source: Daily Independence