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Senate to investigate fraud in ongoing oil and gas lease renewal and revenue loss

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The senate on Wednesday, mandated its committee on petroleum resources upstream to investigate all issues relating to the ongoing lease renewal being undertaken by minister of state for petroleum resources, Ibe Kachikwu and the Department of petroleum resources and to report to the senate the anomalies in the ongoing lease renewal process.

The committee is to also identify appropriate measures to correct the said anomalies.

Senator Omaotayo Alasoadura (Ondo central), sponsor of the motion, noted with concern that the senate committee on petroleum resources upstream has since December 2017 been inundated with plethora of petitions and complaints, observing that there are multiplicity of irregularities sorrounding the ongoing renewal of oil and gas leases being undertaken by the minister of state for petroleum and department of petroleum resources.

He bemoaned with concerns that Kachikwu is granting all manner of illegal discounts and rebates in the process of the ongoing renewal of the leases.

Consequently, Alasoadura noted that the action of the minister is capable of shortchanging the country and denying the federation the appropriate revenue accruable from the renewal of the said leases.

Specifically, he observed that the minister of state for petroleum resources is proceeding to renew leases of companies that have brazenly and illegally refused to pay royalties due to government from oil and gas lifted by the said companies in contravention of extant laws.

He said “under the provision of extant laws, failure to pay royalties is a ground for revocation of leases and a legal barrier to renewal of applicable leases.

“There is a subsisting legal framework and due process mandated by extant law for the renewal of leases that are due for renewal”.

Meanwhile, Senators Aliyu Sahabi Abdullahi (Niger north), Shehu Sani (Kaduna central), Kurfi Umaru (Katsina central), Gbolahan Dada (Ogun west) and Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara south) all supported the motion, saying the upper legislative chamber should summon the minister of state and others related to the motion to appear before it.

Presiding, Deputy President of the senate, Ike Ekweremadu, put the motion to voice vote and those in support were in majority

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