Tinubu Asking NNPC To Submit Receipts Of Crude Sales To CBN Is Illegal – Atiku

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has expressed dissatisfaction regarding the recent decision made by the Federal Government, led by President Bola Tinubu, instructing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to assume control over crude oil sales proceeds from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).

In a statement released on Thursday via his official Facebook page, Atiku asserted that this directive is not only illegal but also undermines the operational independence of the NNPCL. President Tinubu’s instruction mandates the NNPCL to submit receipts for crude oil sales to the CBN for vetting and documentation.

Atiku argued that such a directive violates the legal status of the NNPCL, characterizing it as an arbitrary order that jeopardizes the operational autonomy of the company. He contended that the president’s decision essentially takes control of the NNPCL’s finances and allocates it to the Federal Ministry of Finance and the CBN.

The former Vice President deemed this move unprecedented and lacking legal and ethical justification, emphasizing that it represents a violation of due process in public administration. Atiku pointed to the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 (PIA), highlighting that the NNPCL, established as an independent limited liability company, should be allowed to operate following the provisions of the law. His criticism underscores the importance of upholding legal frameworks and due process in matters concerning the operational autonomy of government entities.

The PIA outlines extensive provisions for the formation, structure, governance, and operation of the NNPCL in Sections 53 to 65 of the Act.

Atiku stressed the importance of respecting the law and allowing the NNPCL to function independently based on sound commercial objectives, international best practices, and standard principles of corporate governance.

According to him, only through such autonomy can the NNPCL evolve into a formidable institution with the technical and financial capacity needed for global relevance in the petroleum industry.

Furthermore, Atiku highlighted that the Central Bank Act 2007 does not confer the responsibility on the CBN to vet transactions or formulate and maintain internal controls and audits in state-owned enterprises, public or private. He advocated for the CBN to adhere to its core functions as outlined in the extant law.

To ensure transparency and accountability in the NNPCL’s operation, Atiku suggested that its bank accounts for crude sales proceeds, including those at institutions like Morgan Stanley, can be monitored by the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and the CBN.

Additionally, he recommended better selection and reconstitution of the NNPCL board members, potentially including representatives from the CBN and NEITI.