Group urges Buhari to sack Sylva over $62billion comment

Femi Adeleke
A civil society organisation, Accountable Leadership for Better Nigeria Initiative (ALBNI) has called for the sack of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva for his comment over the Federal government’s failure to recover $62billion from International Oil Companies.
The group called on President Mohammadu Buhari to immediately sack Sylva for his incompetency and unprofessional statement.
Sylva was reported to have said that Nigeria could never recover the $62billion owed to Nigeria by the International Oil Companies.
The Minister was quoted in a report in one of the national dailies as saying, “Let us consider that ($62billion) as a lost opportunity, the money was not in a cupboard, they have taken it. Nobody can bring out that kind of money. I mean we can’t get $62 Billion.”
But ALBNI reacting to Sylva’s outburst, said, “If the above statement was indeed made by Mr. Timipre Sylva, then His Excellency, Mr. President ought to relieve him of his duties forthwith as Nigeria’s Minister of State For Petroleum Resources. 
The group in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Remi Adebayo, described Slyva’s statement as unbecoming of a Minister, adding that it was unprofessional for the Minister to “assume the role of the mouthpiece and insider representative of the oil companies against the economic development of Nigeria and against the Federal Government’s fight against corruption and economic sabotage.”
“Since 2003 when the price of crude oil exceeded $20 per barrel, real terms, the oil companies involved in deep offshore contracts with the Federal Government represented by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have plundered Nigeria’s economy by surreptitiously colluding with regulatory insiders in the oil and gas industry to avoid adjusting the share of the federation in the additional revenue accruing under the production sharing contracts all through the years and up till today”, the group said.
The group said what Sylva did amounted to “overruling the Supreme Court” on the issue.
According to them, the Supreme Court in a consent judgment in SC/964/2016 between Mr. Timipre Sylva’s Bayelsa State, Rivers and Akwa Ibom States Versus the Federation, the Supreme Court of Nigeria on 17 October 2018 ordered the federal government of Nigeria, “to adjust the share of the Government of the Federation in the additional revenue under all the production sharing contracts in Nigeria’s oil industry with the Inland Basin and Deep Offshore areas as approved by the federal government from the respective times the price of crude oil exceeded twenty dollars ($20.00 USD) per barrel in real terms and to calculate in arrears with effect from August 2003 and recover and pay immediately all outstanding statutory allocations due and payable to the states arising from the said adjustments.”
“The above is a clear order of the Supreme Court of Nigeria which, the federal government of Nigeria and the entire federation are the ultimate beneficiaries and which every person including the Minister of State for petroleum is bound to obey and enforce. Accordingly, the Niger Delta born Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva cannot through his statement overrule the Supreme Court on a debt already recognized by the apex court and ordered to be recovered”, the group said.
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