By Chrustiana Ekpa and Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The senate has denied the claims by the Presidency which alleged that the National Assembly is delaying the request for payment of debts owned the oil marketers for subsidy, saying that there is no such request anywhere in the National Assembly.
In a statement issued by the Senate Spokesman, Abdulahi Sabi, the Senate said the Chief of staff to the President, Abba Kiyari, made the allegation when he was meeting with the oil marketers on how to resolve the crisis of fuel scarcity in the country.
“The attention of the Senate has been drawn to a claim said to have been made by the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, during a meeting with stakeholders in the oil industry on the perennial fuel scarcity in the country to the effect that the payment of debt owed to oil marketers was being delayed because the National Assembly has not approved request presented to the legislature for loan meant for that purpose.
“The Senate would want members of the public to know that no such request has been made to it specifically requesting for loan meant for payment to oil marketers.
“The Senate is aware that subsidy on petroleum had been cancelled by this administration; so we wonder which payment we are talking about now.
“Senators have been inundated with calls from oil marketers who were present at the meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President on the issue and thus, we call on Mallam Kyari to either prove his claim or retract it.
“It should be noted that a similar claim was made by the Minister of Finance on the foreign loan at a time the Presidency had not forwarded the request. The letter requesting for the foreign loan was submitted long after she was confronted with the fact.
“It is the opinion of the Senate that instead of resorting to false claims and shifting blames in the mould of ‘ Blame Someone Else’, both the executive and legislature should work together to solve this unecessary fuel crisis which is making life more difficult for our people.
“That is why members of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) were mandated by the Senate President to suspend their recess and embark on oversight visits to key areas in the sector while it would tomorrow (Thursday, Jan. 4th) hold an investigative public hearing with all stakeholders aimed at finding solution to the problem of fuel scarcity”, the statement said.
Recall that the country had been thrown into crisis of fuel shortage before and after the Christmas period, following which president Buhari set up a committee headed by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, to resolve the crisis, hence the meeting with the Chief of Staff, the minister of State and key players in the oil industry sector, where the National Assembly was blamed for the fuel scarcity in the country.