FG must extradite crooks linked to OPL-245 fraud, says HEDA
By Akinbobola Adeolu
The Federal Government should extradite all perpetrators of crime linked to the OPL-245 oil block, Nigeria’s foremost anti-corruption group said on Thursday.
The Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) also called on the Federal Government to freeze the assets of all those already indicated in the lingering investigations that has now taken international dimension.
Presenting the report on corruption in OPL-245 titled “Corrupt Practices in Nigeria’s Oil Industry: OPL 245 Case Study” to media practitioners in Lagos, HEDA Executive Director, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju said the circumstances surrounding the award of OPL for oil block 245 and the high corruption cases it has elicited reveal the depth of rot in the Nigerian oil sector.
He said “It is evident undue political influence and lack of effective and efficient governance regime have led to unbridled corruption and huge losses in revenues to Nigerian government. While prosecution of established cases of corruption through the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) now referred to as Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) remains crucial in curtailing endemic abuses and corruption in the Nigeria’s oil sector.”
HEDA in partnership with prominent global rights groups have diligently and vigorously pursued accountability in the OPL 245 that has seen international prosecutors wading into the scam to put the lid off a jerry can of worms.
HEDA calls for the renewed commitment of the Nigerian authorities to the revocation of OPL-245 in addition to ensuring proper inventories of assets connected thereto that may require forfeiture. He said that through evaluation of existing OPLs with the new to ascertaining likelihood of irregularities that may require remedies.
Other recommendations were the overhauling of existing governance models and templates for award of oil prospecting licenses to avert ugly experience associated with OPL-245.
Suraju called for judicial enquiry on oil prospecting regime in Nigeria with the view to availing the public with adequate information calling for special panel or committee of experts to review conditions under which OMLs were renewed in the last 10 years.
HEDA called for full automation of monitoring and regulatory agencies in the oil industry to drastically reduce human induced losses due to abuse of due process are necessary adding that the Government should ensure that host communities which are ultimate victims of corruption in oil industry are adequately compensated.
“There is the need to ensure that post revocation and compensation from the oil companies should, as part of commitment to greenhouse gas emission reduction, ultimately translate into the global quest to ‘keep the oil in the ground’ in the overriding desire to safeguard the environment” HEDA said.