The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has acknowledged the human rights attorney and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana’s query letter over the loss of $60 billion oil revenue.
Falana had threatened to sue the minister if his demand was not met within seven days of receiving his letter as prescribed by the FOI Act.
He had made the request on the strength of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 through his letter dated April 10, 2019, and received by Kachikwu’s office on April 11.
In an April 11, 2019 reply, the minister, through his Chief of Staff, Oge Modie, acknowledged Falana’s letter but neither supplied the requested information nor promised to do so in future.
The terse letter with reference number MPR/COS/042/VOL.1/795, and signed by Modie, reads, “On behalf of the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kackikwu, this is to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated April 10, 2019, and received on April 11, 2019, on the above subject matter.”
Falana had explained in his letter to the minister that the huge loss of oil revenue was caused by the refusal of some public officials to implement the terms of the Production Sharing Contracts between the federal government and the international oil companies.
He said he had, through a letter dated November 5, 2015, brought the issue to the attention of Kachikwu when he was the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
According to Falana, a public statement credited to Kachikwu sometime in August 2017, attributed the loss of not less than $60 billion oil revenue to the inaction of the relevant public officers in charge of the implementation of the terms of the PSCs.
Falana also recalled in the letter that “another public statement made on January 19, 2019, by the Acting Chairman of the Revenue, Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Shetima Bana, confirmed the loss of oil revenue of $60 billion arising from the non-implementation of the said production sharing contracts.”
He stated, “In view of the foregoing, I am compelled to request you to furnish me with information on the revenue of $60 billion which the federal government has refused to collect from the International Oil Companies (IOCs) as at August 2017.
“As this request is made pursuant to the provision of the Freedom of Information Act, you are required to supply the requested information not later than seven days from the date of the receipt of this letter.
“Take notice that if you fail or refuse to accede to my request, I shall be compelled to apply to the Federal High Court to direct you to avail me with the information on the loss of the oil revenue of $60 billion.”
In an e-mail sent to journalists and in which copies of his correspondences with Kachikwu were attached, Falana wrote, “Instead of collecting the huge fund, the federal government is determined to pile up more loans and impose additional taxes on the Nigerian people.