11 March 2016, Abuja – The Senate, yesterday, threw its weight behind the Federal Government’s unbundling of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, saying the government did not breach the law establishing the corporation.
The lawmakers also asked Nigerians to support the minister to succeed in solving the problems currently affecting Nigeria as a country, adding that the support became imperative because they discovered, after the session with him, that the staff would not be shortchanged or sacked. According to the Senate, the minister, having apologized for failing to consult with them, decided to sheath their swords and work with him for the interest of the country.
It said from the figure given to them by the NNPC, the organisation was making about N30 billion loss every month before the re-organisation, which had now been reduced to only $3 billion. Senate reprimands Kachikwu
The Senate, however, reprimanded the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, for not consulting with the upper chambers prior to the announcement of government’s proposed plan to restructure the NNPC.
It also asked the Petroleum Minister (State) to feel free with the lawmakers when the need arose. Senate’s position was taken, yesterday when Kachikwu appeared before the Senate Joint Committees on Petroleum Resources, Upstream; Downstream and that of Gas in response to the summon to answer questions on the new policy to unbundle the NNPC.
The panel was co-chaired by the Chairman, Petroleum Upstream, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, APC, Ondo Central; Acting Chairman Petroleum Downstream, Senator Barau Jibrin, APC, Kano North and Chairman Committee on Gas, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, PDP, Akwa Ibom North -East.
Addressing journalists at the end of the closed door session, Chairman, Petroleum Upstream, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, APC, Ondo Central said: “We have a very useful interactive session with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources. We wanted to know how he arrived at what he did at the NNPC, but he clarified the issue that he was not unbundling NNPC because it is an entity that was created by an Act of the National Assembly and nobody can touch it unless he comes back to the National Assembly for amendments.
“But having looked at what he did and the presentation he made to us, and having considered the welfare of staff of NNPC and those working in the subsidiaries that were affected by the reorganisation that he has done in the sector, we found out that one, the staff would not be shortchanged, that no staff will be deprived of his employment.
‘’We also found out that he had not contravened the law because we were worried that he might be acting against the law, but having looked at the law with him, we found that he did not contravene it.
“We also told him that he ought to have done more consultation with the National Assembly for which he apologized and he said that henceforth, more consultations will be done. We feel that he is working in the best interest of Nigeria”.