TUC wants Buhari to quit as petroleum minister

…Also to separate junior minister from NNPC GMD
Oscarline Onwuemenyi

*President Muhammadu Buhari.

*President Muhammadu Buhari.

20 April 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Trade Union Congress (TUC) yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to relinquish the position of Minister of Petroleum Resources because the office is too critical to the economy to be combined with the office of the President and Commander-In-Chief.

TUC advocated for the appointment of a separate Minister of Petroleum Resources, who would supervise the ministry and report to the president, adding that the perfect candidate for the job should have the requisite knowledge and experience in the oil and gas industry.

The Congress further noted that although the position of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources should remain as a junior minister in the ministry, a different Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) should also be appointed to directly supervise the affairs of the Corporation.

According to the TUC President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, who spoke at the Save Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Round Table in Abuja, also called for the elimination of the ‘cabal’ behind the corruption in the oil and gas industry.

He said, “There is urgent need for the appointment of a substantive Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources; the ideal candidate for this should be someone who has the necessary knowledge, experience and competence, and who would directly oversee the affairs of the ministry and report regularly to the President.

“That position is too important to the economy to be subsumed as one of the many offices or portfolios of the President and Commander-in-Chief. Of course the position of the Minister of State for Petroleum and Mineral Resources should continue to exist as a junior minister in the ministry.

“A separate Group Managing Director(GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation should also be appointed to directly supervise the affairs of the NNPC.”

Kaigama said all the appointees must be persons of bold, incorruptible and sound principles, adding that the cabals in the sector emerged due to corruption.

“It is high time we halt the ugly trend whereby members of the cabal are paid billions of naira for ‘fuel imports’ that never reach our shores,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said Nigeria is the worst case scenario in the management of oil and gas wealth in the world.

Wabba noted said the problem in the oil and gas industry is not lack of law but adherence to the laws.

He advised Nigerians to oppose anyone that violates the law, adding that he refused to pay N200 per liter for the petrol he bought in a station in Kaduna State two weeks ago because the pump price is N86 per litre.

Chairman of the occasion, Ambassador Paddy Njoku in his address said for government to achieve the aims of the Nigerian Content Monitoring Board Act, it is vital to continually collaborate with industry stakeholders to ensure effective implementation and enforcement of the Act.

He sought the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law in order to strengthen the progress that the board has made.

In his presentation, Dr. Louis Brown Ogbeifun, said “it is better to have a not too perfect PIB that could be reviewed in the next few years than allow the status quo to remain as it has been these last 16 years.

“Stakeholders should close ranks as the death of the oil and gas industry shall have ripple effects on the state of the Nigerian economy as we still run a monolithic economic system.”

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