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Reps, NNPC boss in face off over sale of refineries



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The House Committee on Privatisation is crossed with the Federal government over the proposed privatisation of the nation’s three refineries, namely: Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna Refineries.

Expectedly, the lawmakers have asked the government to discontinue the planned sale of the refineries.

The decision of the lawmakers followed the disclosure by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) that it was not aware of the proposed sale.

Justifying the need for the discontinuation of the sale, the lawmakers said the proposed sale didn’t follow due process with NNPC acting without the involvement of other stakeholders as contained in the BPE Act.

The House said NNPC action violated Section 11 of the BPE Act, 2009.

Subsequently, the Committee directed that the process be stopped with immediate effect.

In his presentation to the Committee on Wednesday NNPC’s Group Executive Director (Refineries),  Anibor Kragba, who represented the Minister of State (Petroleum Resources) and NNPC’s  Group Managing Director (GMD), Ibe Kachikwu, said the exercise was not privatisation.

According to him, rehabilitation of the refineries is capital intensive which was responsible for sourcing for core investors that can undertake the project and revive the refineries.

However trouble began when the GED was asked about who authorised the exercise under whatever name without the input of the National Assembly.

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When asked if BPE was involved in the process, its acting Director General (DG), Vincent Akpotarie denied the knowledge and participation of his agency in the proposed sale.

Kragba’s response to seek clarification from higher office however drew the ire of the Committee, that called his competence to question.

The Committee regretted that it was the action of NNPC that the whole country is suffering, while noting that there was no reason for the continuation  of the session since the GED is incapable of giving authoritative answers to questions thrown at him.

The Committee expressed disappointment that it deferred to accept the representation of Kragba on the basis that he claimed to have the mandate of the corporation to make pronouncements on its behalf but failed to live up to the expectation of the Committee.

On being told that he was incompetent to handle the matter at hand, Kragba responded saying, “With due respect to this Honourable Committee, I was appointed into the office by  Mr President who believed in my competency.”

The Committee would have none of that from the GED for using such a language on the House.

Before aborting the hearing due to the shouting match, the Committee ruled that the NNPC should stop the exercise immediately for gross violation of the BPE Act.

Chairman of the Committee, Ahmed  Yerima  warned Kragba to be mindful of his choice of words before the parliament, “I am sure if  Mr President reads this BPE Act, he  will not be happy with what you are doing.

“We are preaching change, change in our ways of doing things for the betterment of the Country and yet we the leaders are doing things ,the other way round, impunity is still rampant, am a member of the All Progressives Congress and we promised the people real change before they gave us their votes,” he stated.

The hearing was abruptly adjourned with a caveat that the Petroleum Resources Minister, Kachikwu must appear before the Committee.


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