- Category: Corruption
- Published on Thursday, 28 June 2012 11:14
- Written by Admin
- Hits: 491
MEMBERS of the House of Representa-tives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) yesterday threatened to order the arrest of Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ola Sa'ad Ibrahim and the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin, for their refusal to appear before the committee to explain what they are doing to deal with the spate of illegal bunkering in the country.
Chairman of the committee, Muraina Ajibola, declared this yesterday at its public hearing in Abuja.
He said the lawmakers would not hesitate to invoke relevant laws against the minister and service chiefs if they fail to appear before the committee.
At the public hearing, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) called for collaborative efforts between government agencies to check illegal oil bunkering.
DPR Director, Mr Austine Olorusola, while making its presentation, called for a review of existing regulatory framework that would provide stiffer penalties for oil thieves. He said that necessary logistics support should be provided for relevant regulatory agencies to enable them carry out effective monitoring of the maritime sector.
According to him, the department had ensured a regular statutory monitoring of all vessels registered by it.
He said: "From 2008 to date, 215 of such vessels have been and are being monitored, and no records of involvement in illegal bunkering activities".
He stressed that the department had licensed some oil companies to carry out bunkering activities in the country. Olorunsola said that licences issued to such companies had expired and were yet to be renewed, pending Federal Government policies on bunkering, especially as diesel has been deregulated.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Omar Suleiman, said that there was the need to step up security to effectively check illegal oil bunkering.
He said that Nigerian ports are not used as entry points for illegal oil bunkering.
"Not all jetties in the country were licensed by the Authority”. Managing Director of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Mr Ciro Pagano, said that the company “loses between 25,000 to 30,000 barrels of oil daily and one million barrels monthly to illegal bunkering".
Meanwhile, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has picked holes in incessant changes in the management leadership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
It said it was a way to delay the growth of the oil and gas industry.
Reacting to the sudden removal of the Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Austin Oniwon, and other executive directors, PENGASSAN President, Comrade Babatunde Ogun, said that incessant changes in the management leadership of the NNPC will affect the ongoing reforms policy in the industry.
One of the policy thrusts in the ongoing NNPC transformation that is likely to suffer setback, according to Ogun, is the ongoing Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) and repair of the four refineries intended to put them back on stream to operate at their installed capacity.
He explained that in the past few months, “the NNPC management had been working assiduously on how to bring back the refineries and there has been results to this effect, as the Kaduna Refineries and Port Harcourt Refineries have started working progressively towards their installed capacities, while there are plans to put back the Warri Refinery.”
The union leader expressed fear that the new management may abandon the ongoing TAM and repairs of the refineries, and thereby allow the government to sell those refineries as scraps.
Other vital areas where the outgoing team would have been of tremendous value is in the actualisation of well articulated visions of a globally competitive national oil company in which their wealth of experience is to be tapped in kick-starting the impending Petroleum Industry law to successful take off.
While congratulating the new management team led by the new Group Managing Director, Dr. Andrew Yakubu, the PENGASSAN President urged the team to follow laid down reform policies and plans of the outgoing team; adding that the new