identified as a Panacea to the Nation's Petroleum Sector as well as help in Curbing and Checkmating the Excessive wastages currently being experienced in the Oil Sector.
Nigeria's pioneer female Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke in her quest to cleanse the sector had in the first quarter of this year commissioned a Petroleum Special Task Force headed by a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, to amongst other duties determine and verify all petroleum upstream and downstream revenues (taxes, royalties, etc.) due and payable to the federal government.
The report of the task force part of which was cited by Reuters in a news report revealed loses in revenue and royalties to the federal government, as well as other lapses in the sector including exposing billions of dollars in unpaid debts owed Nigeria by some foreign oil companies.
The report also concluded that oil majors Shell, Total and Eni made bumper profits from cut-price gas, adding that Nigerian oil ministers handed out oil licences at their own discretion, though the practice is legal.
However, Investigations by ipaidabribenaija.com revealed that there has been no discretional award of oil blocks under this present administration contrary to the reports published in the media recently.
The 146-page report according to Reuters said hundreds of millions of dollars paid as signature bonuses for the licenses are untraceable.
But the PIB before the National Assembly can fix all the lapses in the management of Nigeria's oil resources, especially those highlighted in the report of the special task force.
Some of the aims of the PIB before federal legislators include: promoting transparency and openness in the administration of petroleum resources; creating efficient and effective regulatory agencies – the Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency, the Petroleum Technical Bureau and the Upstream Petroleum Inspectorate, which will have sweeping powers to "keep registers of all leases, licences, permits, and other authorizations issued by the Inspectorate or the Minister of Petroleum for upstream petroleum operations, and any renewals, amendments, extensions, suspensions and revocations thereof." It will also carry out enquiries, tests, audits or investigations and take such steps as may be necessary to monitor the activities of the holders of leases, licences, permits and other authorizations to secure and enforce compliance with the terms and conditions.
Before the administration of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and current President Goodluck Jonathan, oil blocks were mostly awarded discretionally without any competitive bidding processes.
In 2005, Oando was awarded OPL 236 measuring 1651.98 at the discretion of erstwhile President, General Olusegun Obasanjo.
Same year, the former President awarded OPL 302, measuring 1639.46 to Alfred James Nigeria Limited, while NorthEast Petroleum Limited belonging to Alhaji Mohammed Saleh Jambo was awarded OPL 215, measuring 2586.2.
Singling out current President Goodluck Jonathan and Petroleum Minister Diezani Allison-Madueke for the several years of corruption and decay in the petroleum sector is unfair and will not clean up the mess.
The path to cleaning up the sector started when the minister commissioned the Petroleum Special Task Force, which has submitted its findings.
The task force made up of a former Head of Service of the Federation, Mr. Steve Oronsaye; Director of Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, Mallam Abba Kyari; Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN; Ms. Benedicta Molokwu, Mr. Supo Sasore, SAN; Mr. Tony Idigbe, SAN; Mr. Anthony George-Ikoli, SAN; Dr. Omolara Akanji; and Mr. Ituah Ighodalo amongst others was handed the following terms of reference:
"• To work with consultants and experts to determine and verify all petroleum upstream and downstream revenues (taxes, royalties, etc.) due and payable to the Federal Government of Nigeria;
• To take all necessary steps to collect all debts due and owing; to obtain agreements and enforce payment terms by all oil industry operators;
• To design a cross debt matrix between all agencies and parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources;
• To develop an automated platform to enable effective tracking, monitoring, and online validation of income and debt drivers of all parastatals and agencies in the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources; and
• To submit monthly reports for ministerial review and further action."
However, this administration must recover all outstanding debts and missing moneys as revealed in the report.
Ipaidabribenaija.com enjoin all well meaning Nigerians to solicit for the speedy Passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the National Assembly as it has been clearly identified as been very vital to the Sanitization of the Nation's Ailing Petroleum Sector as well as rescuing Nigeria from the Stranglehold of endemic corruption in the Petroleum Sector which is the main-stay of the Nation's Economy.