By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives Committees on Petroleum Upstream yesterday gave the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) two weeks ultimatum to appear it and explain alleged irregularities in the oil sector by the cooperation.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Sarki Ada (APC-Sokoto) isssued the ultimatum at a public hearing on Thursday following the refusal of NNPC to honour invitations or reply letters.
He said “Our message to all those who have failed to appear before us as invited namely the NNPC, Addax Petroleum Company Ltd and Santex Nig Ltd.
“We are giving them two weeks from today, we will reschedule this meeting for two weeks calendar days to appear before this committee before this committee and we continue our business, Unless if they want us to invite President Buhari to appear before us as the Minister of Petroleum, if they do not come, we will not hesitate.
“Buhari is a minister, he appointed himself and approved by the parliament and he is doing his job, we will invite him and I know as the law-abiding president, he will come.
“When he comes, Nigeria should know that it is because of the failure of the NNPC to appear that made him to come and appear before us,’’ he said.
Ada said that the committee had asked for relevant documents to investigate the activities of the NNPC and the corporation had refused to oblige the committee.
According to him, we have written three letters to them at an interval of three months each requesting for their budget, budget performance and list of asset they are holding and managing on behalf of Nigerians.
“We asked for a list of their liabilities, what are the contracts they are executing, who are the contractors, who are the companies and what is the progress made. We have asked for details of how much they generate from the sales of crude oil produce, how much do they manage on behalf of Nigeria through other joint ventures, until today, there is no responds.
Time has come that we must speak, this country belongs to all of us, we are here as statutory Nigerians,’’ he said.
Other Lawmakers that spoke at the hearing added, “We have come here to discourse serious matters concerning Nigerian assets being managed by Nigerians on behalf of Nigerians by the powers given to them by the law being an Act of the parliament.
“They are not here, they submitted this letter to us this afternoon not up to an hour ago; I do not believe this is from them because it is signed by an unknown person, the person is not known to us.
It is not signed by the General Managing Director (GMD) as far as this committee is concern, the only person this committee knows in the GMD.
“All the letters we have written to NNPC or its subsidiaries are routed through the GMD and that is the procedure and we expect he should be the one signing all letters coming to this committee.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Timipre Sylva promised to deliver the message of the committee to the NNPC.
“I listened very carefully to the message you sort through me to the NNPC, I have taken the message and I will deliver it.
As you know, the issues before you is an issues I wrote a memo to the President and it was approved and it was approved and the NNPC wrote another memo supposedly against my memo.
“So if we have that type of situation, I wonder if I am in the position to enforce the type of message you have presented through me to the NNPC.
On this issue, I will like to be very quick, no law was breached as far as the Addax affair is concern and I am not aware of any matter is in the supreme court, and I have just consulted with the Director DPR and they are also not aware of any court case.