Three Billion USD: How NNPC Avoids FOI Compliance

A Nigerian oil giant, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is caught up in a total disregard to Freedom of Information (FOI) compliance.

Three Billion USD: How NNPC Avoids FOI Compliance

A Nigerian oil giant, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is caught up in a total disregard to Freedom of Information (FOI) compliance.

The corporation manages the commercial interests of Nigeria oil and gas sector as well as conducting trade for the oil and gas as part of its core mandate.

NNPC response to FOI request made by the Publish What You Pay-Nigeria, a coalition of civil society with the mandate to call for the compulsory disclosures of payments and receipts of revenues from the extractive sector shows that the oil giant does not comply with FOI.

A mandatory requirement of the FOI Act is that all public institutions are to ensure that they record and keep information about all its activities, operations and businesses. In addition, they shall ensure the proper organization and maintenance of all information in its custody in a manner that facilitates public access to such information.

However, this rule is frequently violated by the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), as government officials embark on secret deals and have demonstrated the unwillingness to lead in the public sector reforms.

Often, respective MDAs work out a deliberate plan to avoid FOI compliance by making sure information is not disclosed to the public.

The NNPC is the latest offender, by October 27th, 2016, the PWYP-Nigeria sent FOI request to the NNPC asking her to disclose and clarify the sum of three billion, six hundred and seven million, six hundred and forty-six thousand, three hundred and eighty-seven dollars ($3, 607,646,387) payments made by Royal Dutch Shell to NNPC in 2015.

In a response letter sent to PWYP-Nigeria dated 18th November 2016, signed by O.B Omale, a lawyer and a counsel to NNPC, it is obvious that the NNPC does not comply with the FOI Act.

Rather than make the information sought by the PWYP-Nigeria available, the corporation through its lawyer, argued that the FOI Act does not cover NNPC saying the corporation does not fall within a public institution. Hence, NNPC is excluded from complying with the FOI.

NNPC further argued that the disclosure of the information sought by PWYP-Nigeria could adversely affect its interest, contractual rights, and obligation. And says in its opinion, no public interest will be served by disclosing the monies paid to it by the Royal Dutch.

We consider this a plot by NNPC not to disclose information to the public, by employing any means available to avoid the FOI compliance which she is obligated by the law.

Publish What You Pay-Nigeria
Abuja Secretariat