The Federal Government is considering the option of filing criminal charges against International Oil Companies (IOCs) implicated in the alleged export of $17bn worth of Nigeria’s undeclared crude and gas resources between 2011 and 2014.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, disclosed this on Tuesday when he appeared before an ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives in Abuja.
The committee, which is chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Adamawa State, Abdulrazak Namdas, is investigating the alleged crude and gas theft.
Malami explained that his office was investigating the level of involvement of the firms to establish concrete evidence to sustain the criminal charges before proceeding to court.
However, the minister stated that nine civil litigation were already instituted in Lagos and Abuja against some IOCs and other oil firms primarily to recover the government’s undeclared crude and gas resources.
Malami clarified that though the period under investigation preceded the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the government felt compelled to pursue the cases with a view to making the recoveries for the collective good of the country.
He also admitted that it was former President Goodluck Jonathan, under whose regime, the alleged theft took place, who initiated the process for the civil litigation in 2013.