The Federal Government on Tuesday gave the Petroleum Special Task force 60 working days within which to probe and clean up the oil industry.
The task force is headed by the pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who handed the deadline at the inauguration of the task force in Abuja, said several attempts to reform the oil and gas industry had failed because of vested interests.
Alison-Madueke said the time had come to break entrenched interests in the oil and gas sector in order to restore confidence in government and eschew cynicism.
The minister said the task force was established to enhance probity and accountability in the operations of the petroleum industry.
The 21-member task force was constituted to probe and collect revenues accruable to the country from both the upstream and downstream segments of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
In an apparent move to ensure legitimacy, the membership of the task force was drawn from several segments of the society.
At the inauguration, Ribadu, who flew the presidential flag of the Action Congress of Nigeria in the 2011 elections, described the job of the task force as an important national assignment.
According to him, a transparent oil industry will deliver value to all stakeholders, including Nigeria and the international oil companies.
“Those who play by the rule will enjoy the support of all while those who don’t should get the red card. We are coming with open mind for this assignment,” he said.
Ribadu urged anybody in possession of documents that would assist the task force to come up with such documents.
The Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force is charged, among others, with the following terms of reference:
• To work with consultants and experts to determine and verify all petroleum upstream and downstream revenues (taxes, royalties, etc.) due and payable to the Federal Government of Nigeria;
• To take all necessary steps to collect all debts due and owing; to obtain agreements and enforce payment terms by all oil industry operators;
• To design a cross debt matrix between all agencies and parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources;
• To develop an automated platform to enable effective tracking, monitoring, and online validation of income and debt drivers of all parastatals and agencies in the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources; and,
• To submit monthly reports for ministerial review and further action.”
Members of the task force include former Head of Service of the Federation, Mr. Steve Oronsaye, who would serve as deputy chairman; Director of Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, Mallam Abba Kyari; and legal luminary, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN.
Others are Ms. Benedicta Molokwu, Mr. Supo Sasore, SAN ; Mr. Tony Idigbe, SAN; Mr. Anthony George-Ikoli, SAN; Dr. Omolara Akanji; Mr. Ituah Ighodalo; Mr. Bon Otti; Prof. Olusegun Okunnu; Mallam Samaila Zubairu; Mr.Ignatius Adegunle; and Mr. Gerald Ilukwe.
The following organisations and bodies are also to be represented by one member each: the Federal Inland Revenue Service; the Ministry of Finance, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the Department of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.