By Umar Muhammad Puma
Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison-Maduekwe and the Group Managing Director of NNPC yesterday failed to appear before the House of Representatives committee over union’s strike in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The three joint committees of the House of Representatives have summoned the Petroleum Minister, and leaderships of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) over the looming crisis in the oil and gas sector in the country, but waited for almost two hours, without any of the invitees showing up.
The lawmakers only received a letter from the GMD, Thalma Dawah, who said the strike issue was an “internal matter” which will be resolved soon, as the committees described the statement as wrong, which must be explained by the NNPC boss.
In the letter, Dawah told the committees that “NNPC is currently engaging the unions” and that he was “confident that in no time, our staff will go back to work.”
But none of the invitees showed up at the venue of the meeting, a situation that drew the lawmakers’ ire and who threatened to exert their constitutional powers of bench warrant on the officers.
Several members openly expressed their displeasure at the way the petroleum minister “continues to shun invitations” of the House, without regard to their legislative positions as peoples’ representatives.
However, chairmen of the petroleum committee, Rep Muraina Ajibola, who led the other committee chairmen, warned that the lawmakers “are standing on the threshold of history” on this issue, since they protect the interest of Nigerians.
He then disclosed that the members “have agreed to summon the petroleum minister, NNPC GMD, president of NUPENG and PENGASSEN and any other person who has anything to contribute on this issue, to explain to Nigerians the cause of this conflict on Tuesday 23rd September.”