Senate probes alleged sale of 1.7m barrels of crude oil by EFCC

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The Senate Committee on Finance has launched investigation into the alleged sale of 1.7 million barrels of crude oil seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The Director of Operations of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Sola Oluwagbire, had told the Senate Committee at an interactive session on revenue leakage in the Maritime sector that the Navy seized the crude oil between 2021 and the first quarter of 2022 from oil thieves.

Giving a breakdown of the seized items, Oluwagbire said 44 vessels were arrested in 2021 with 1.6 million barrels of crude and 4.6 million litres of PMS (petrol), while 13 vessels loaded with 154,000 barrels of crude were seized within first quarter of 2022.

He told the committee that the seized vessels were handed over to the EFCC since the Nigerian Navy was not a prosecuting agency.

When asked about the whereabouts of the seized crude by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Solomon Adeola, the naval officer said the anti-graft agency had disposed it off.

But when Adeola asked the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, whether the proceeds of the sales had been remitted into the Federation Account, she said she was not aware of how the seized crude was handled.

“I am not aware how the seized products were handled,” Mrs. Ahmed said.

Addressing reporters after the session, Adeola said his committee had asked the Navy to provide more details about the seized items.

The senator also said the panel would invite the EFCC to get more information on the matter.

He said: “We have asked the Navy to supply us with information. We want to know the current state of the seized products. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) is going to appear before us on Monday and we will invite the EFCC.”

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