Nigeria's House of Representatives is beginning an investigation into
the country's oil industry. Gilbert da Costa in Abuja reports for VOA
that top industry officials are scheduled to testify before a special
parliamentary panel at a public hearing.
industry will come under scrutiny this week in Abuja as the House of
Representatives holds public hearings on alleged under-handed dealings
in the sector.
The anti-corruption unit, the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission, says an estimated $500 billion were stolen
between 1960 and 2007 in Nigeria, the world's eighth largest oil
Political interference, embezzlement and
administrative lapses have turned the state-owned petroleum company,
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, into a huge cash-cow for the
Soji Apampa, of the anti-corruption group
Integrity, says putting the spotlight on Nigeria's most strategic
industry is a huge step forward.
"The probe of the oil and gas
industry in Nigeria is a very welcome one because it is one of those
industries that are still encased in lot of dark practices," said Apampa.
"Insufficient light had been shed on it thus far, and as we have seen
the probes that had taken place so far in the National Assembly, we
know that their value is in bringing some level of transparency to the
happenings in a particular sector."
A parliamentary committee of
inquiry earlier this year reported widespread irregularities in the
award of oil concessions handed out during the era of former president
Nine out of 10 Nigerians live on less than $2 a day, their lives blighted by poor infrastructure and a
lack of public services resulting from decades of endemic corruption.
regularly ranks among the most corrupt in the world, and analysts say
this constitute a deterrent to foreign investment and impediment to
A parliamentary committee reported Tuesday that about
half the revenues collected by government agencies were not paid to
"About 3.6 trillion [about $3 billion] has
actually been generated as internally generated revenue. Of
this amount, about 1.5 trillion has never found its way into government
coffers," said John Eno, who heads the House of Representatives
Committee on Finance.
President Umaru Yar'Adua, who promised to tackle graft
when elected in 2007, has been criticized for making slow progress on