The newspapers for Monday, May 15, have focused on the Senate’s investigation of some banks for alleged fraud among other stories.
Some Nigerian banks are being investigated for allegedly colluding with some International Oil Companies (IOCs) to defraud Nigeria.
Vanguard reports that this is as over $62,909,716,417 was said to have been taken out of the country between August 2009 and December 2014 in suspicious circumstances.
The newspaper stated that a document obtained, on Sunday, May 14, showed that the affected banks were asked by the Senate to submit all copies of certified Nigeria Export Proceed, NXP, issued/or processed by them in respect of all crude oil and gas exported by Nigeria Agip Company Ltd, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Shell Petroleum Development Co. Nig. Ltd and their affiliates between April 1996 and December, 2016.
The affected banks were also asked to produce all domiciliary accounts opened and /or closed within the period specified for all crude oil and gas exported.
The Nation reports that the investigation of the pre-shipment inspection of export activities in Nigeria is being conducted by the Senate joint committee on Finance, Trade and Investment, Gas, Petroleum Upstream, Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, and Customs and Excise.
According to the newspaper, Two banks – Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank – appeared at the investigative joint committee on Thursday, May 11.
Other banks said to be associated with the export of oil and gas will also appear.
A member of the committee, Senator Yusuf Yusuf (Taraba State), queried why funds brought into the country as oil export proceeds were wholly withdrawn a day after such proceeds were brought.
He said the probe became necessary because the banks should have ensured petroleum products exporters did the right thing by obeying the guidelines and laws of the country.
“It is worrisome that money comes in today, tomorrow the same amount goes out of the country. The practice runs through the statement of account submitted by the banks. The oil companies bring in $20 billion today and tomorrow $20 billion is taken out from the account,"Yusuf said.
“The banks are colluding with multinational oil companies to defraud the country. The government relies on the banks; the banks are now colluding with the multi-national oil companies.”
The lawmaker noted that it was obvious the country was not getting the correct export proceeds from oil and gas exports.
He insisted that banks had the responsibility to abide by the law, saying it was worrisome no indications were made about who paid for oil exports.
He noted that the committee was interested in why same company exports and pays for products without an indication of who actually buys the products and the corresponding bank.
Meanwhile, the federal government is considering merger and conversion of assets of Arik Air and Aero Contractors in the buildup to a new national carrier for the country.
The Guardian reports that the option, according to sources, is due to the alleged debt burden of the airlines. Besides, despite government’s recent intervention since their takeover by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), the airlines are not promising in terms of operations and debt payment.
The conversion plan, though already faulted by some stakeholders, will further reduce private domestic operations to six airlines, with the attendant debt burden and legal issues for the prospective national carrier.
Top sources in the Ministry of Aviation told The Guardian at the weekend that “all options, including the rumour surrounding Arik Air, Aero, are all on the table to choose from.
"Left to some parties, government should just build a strong carrier from these troubled airlines. Not only Arik or Aero. There are other defunct airlines, about 10 of them, still owing government.
“So, government is aware of these options and other issues that can come out of it. I can tell you that the best of all the options will be taken to suit the interest of all Nigerians. That is why the matter is currently before advisers to recommend appropriately. But for now, nothing has been decided,” a source, who craved anonymity, said.
In another news story, a 14-year-old female suspected bomber says Boko Haram leaders chose her to detonate an Improvised Explosive Device in Maiduguri because she refused to get married to their members in Sambisa Forest.
According to the Punch, the suspect is among three suspects arrested by the military when they allegedly came for a mission at a military facility in Jakana in Maiduguri.
The suspect said this in Maiduguri on Sunday, May 14, that she was sent on the mission to detonate the device because she refused marriage proposals from three Boko Haram terrorists.
The suspect said she was abducted with her father, Usman, by Boko Haram insurgents in Gwoza, Borno, in 2013. She said she and her father were running to Mandara mounting for safety when they were abducted.
According to her, she wanted to travel to Madagali in Adamawa with her father, where he sells cows before Boko Haram insurgents attacked Gwoza.
Meanwhile, watch this NAIJ.com video of Nigerians comparing Ayodele Fayose and President Muhammadu Buhari for 2019 presidency: