Yemisi Izuora/Hyacinth Chinweuba
The federal government is considering preparing criminal charges against International Oil Companies, IOCs, involved in the alleged export of $17bn worth of Nigerian undeclared crude and gas resources between 2011 and 2014.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, who gave the indication when he appeared before an ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives in Abuja, said his office was investigating the level of involvement of the firms to establish concrete evidence to sustain the criminal charges before proceeding to court.
He said nine civil litigations were already instituted in Lagos and Abuja against some IOCs and other oil firms primarily to recover the government’s undeclared crude and gas resources.
The minister clarified that though the period under investigation preceded the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the government felt compelled to pursue the cases with a view to making the recoveries for the collective good of the country.
He also admitted that it was former President Goodluck Jonathan, under whose regime, the alleged theft took place, who initiated the process for the civil litigation in 2013.
The ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives, which is chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Adamawa State, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, is investigating the alleged crude and gas theft.