Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has taken legal action against the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) for its alleged failure to disclose crucial details about Nigeria’s daily oil production, exportation, and the total revenues generated from oil since the removal of petrol subsidy in May 2023.
The lawsuit, identified as suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1719/2023, was filed by SERAP on Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja. This legal move followed SERAP’s previous request to Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of NNPCL, demanding transparency regarding the revenues generated from oil and their remittance to the public treasury post-subsidy removal.
In a letter dated December 9, 2023, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization highlighted the significant public interest in obtaining this information. SERAP urged NNPCL to disclose the daily amount of oil produced, exported, and the generated revenue within a seven-day deadline.
“There is a legitimate public interest in disclosing the information sought. The NNPC has a legal responsibility to disclose the details of Nigeria’s daily oil production, exportation and the revenues generated and remitted,” the statement read.
“Nigerians have the right to know the amounts of barrels of oil the country produces and exports daily, the revenues generated and remitted to the public treasury.” Compelling the NNPC to disclose these details would promote transparency and accountability in the oil sector.”
“The failure by the NNPC to disclose the information sought is a grave violation of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”
However, as NNPCL failed to respond to SERAP’s request, the advocacy group decided to pursue legal action, emphasizing that the lawsuit is in the public interest.
The lawsuit, presented on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Andrew Nwankwo, stressed the necessity for transparency in revealing Nigeria’s daily oil production, exportation figures, and the revenues remitted to the public treasury. SERAP argued that such disclosures would ensure compliance with the law by NNPCL and facilitate the populace’s right to natural resources.
Citing constitutional provisions and international commitments, SERAP asserted that transparency in oil-related financial matters is vital in curbing corruption, enhancing access to public goods and services, and meeting anti-corruption obligations.
The lawsuit comes amidst concerns raised by former Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi regarding the alleged failure of NNPCL to remit adequate foreign exchange into the treasury post-fuel subsidy removal, prompting questions about the utilization of generated funds.
SERAP stressed that transparency in disclosing oil production and revenue figures is essential to prevent fund diversion and foster public trust in utilizing revenues for the benefit of Nigerians.