A mild drama played out at the first plenary session of the House of Representatives yesterday as a motion to investigate the alleged non-remittance of funds by Ministries, Department and Agencies was stifled by members of the parliament elected on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A motion listed on the Order Paper as fifth motion of the day and sponsored by Chike Okafor (All Progressives Congress Imo State) alleged that Federal Government agencies in recent years have mismanaged issues of tax remittance and engaged in unapproved spending of funds which should have been paid into the Federation Account.
Okafor was stopped in his tracks not long after he began reading by two PDP members who raised point of order based on argument that the section of the 1999 constitution which he premised his motion was faulty.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara had called on Okafor to move his motion and lead the debate on it. In the motion, Okafor sought to bring to the attention of the parliament the allegations that the sum of $4 billion was paid as taxes and dividends by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNGL) between 2009 and 2014 without the sum reflecting in the account of the government during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
He equally listed in the motion, allegations that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spent $3.8 trillion in three years under the same administration without parliamentary appropriation.
Okafor also noted the allegations that $2.1 billion was disbursed from the Excess Crude Account without the approval of the National Economic Council (NEC) which are infractions. Okafor was yet to complete reading the first paragraph of his motion when Edward Pwajok from Plateau State shouted “Point of Order” to draw the attention of the Speaker.
Keeping with the laid down rules of the House which prescribed that point of order must be taken at all times when raised, Speaker Dogara yielded the floor to Pwajok to make his contribution while Okafor took his seat. Relying on several sections of the Constitution and the Establishing Act of the NEC, Pwajok faulted the basis of the motion moved by Okafor.
He sought the leave of the House to have the motion stopped from being read and debated on the floor of the parliament. His position was re-echoed by the Minority Leader Leo Ogor, who noted that the motion was defective.
In a surprise move, Okafor withdrew the motion citing the need to “avoid further controversy”.
Meanwhile, Association of Mega Filling Stations Owners of Nigeria (AMFSON) has said that any move by the NNPC to close about 500 retail outlets would be resisted.
The Group Managing Director (GMD), Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, had given a hint that the impending closure of the franchise outlets was as a result of rising debt profile which the parent body could no longer shoulder in the face of its dwindling revenue.
Addressing a press conference yesterday in Kaduna, the National Secretary of AMFSON, Comrade Kenneth Nwachukwu, said the allegation was unfounded and baseless since supply of NNPC products has been on cash and carry basis in the past three years.