The African Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR) and Justice Advocate Center (JAC) have commenced moves to put a stop to the $3 billion emergency loan recently secured on papers by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL) from the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to stabilise the country’s foreign exchange market.
Recall that a fortnight ago, both parties in Cairo, Egypt, jointly signed a commitment letter and term sheet for the emergency loan.
In a statement by the National Oil Company, the facility will provide some immediate disbursement that will enable NNPC Ltd to support the Federal Government in its ongoing fiscal and monetary policy reforms aimed at stabilising the exchange rate market.
But, the Human Rights groups at a joint press conference on Thursday, described the loan as illegal, calling on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to suspend the Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mr. Mele Kyari, for alleged incompetence and illegally trying to secure loan with future oil wealth of Nigerians without the approval of the National Assembly since the NNPCL shares are still intact with Nigerians via the Federal Government and have not been sold to the public.
The Public Interest Litigation Head, Barr. Tochi Oha, speaking on behalf of the groups lamented that Nigeria’s economy was truly in crisis with Naira tumbling over and over again, despite the hope of the $3 billion loan secured by NNPCL that was supposed to inject much-needed dollar liquidity into the foreign exchange market.
While disclosing that they will petition investors and AFRIEXIM to back off, they urged President Tinubu to initiate sweeping reforms in the company by suspending Kyari as he has ran the company to ground and cannot pilot the expected industry reforms that the PIA was expected to bring .
They said, “The recent intervention launched by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to help rescue the naira is nothing but a sham by Mele Kyari going by the fact that NNPCL assets and profitability is been striped under him by incompetence and corruption hence the desperate move to use future oil wealth to back an illegal loan request that will further worsen the country’s revenue. Two weeks after the NNPCL announced the loan deal, the naira exchanged for a new-low of N920 per USD Wednesday August 29. There are also indications that the investors who were supposed to make up the balance of the syndicated loan have now developed cold feet because of the illegality of the deal coupled with the institutional corruptions in the nnpcl under kyari, leaving only the African Export-Import (Afrexim) bank which can not single-handedly provide all the cash.
“Fiscal recklessness have for long reigned at the NNPC especially under kyari, as detailed in multiple reports by domestic and international agencies and via revelations at numerous parliamentary hearings. We call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to suspend the Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mr. Mele Kyari and his management for incompetence and gambling with lives of Nigerians.
“We have also petitioned afriexim bank to back out in their own interest as the shares of NNPCL is still owned by Nigerian people with the federal government holding it in trust and Kyari mele gang of NNPCL desperados lacks the single right to sit in their office and sold off future oil revenue of the Nigerian people without going through the parliament and due diligence.”