By SundiataPOST, Abuja
The Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) has issued a two-week ultimatum to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to provide it with details of petroleum products distribution. The committee also directed the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mr Andrew Yakubu, to supply it with details of excess crude swap and the number of aircraft in NNPC. The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Magnus Abe, issued the ultimatum on Thursday in Abuja following the failure of the Managing Director, Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Ltd, Mr Paul Obelle, to appear before it. Obelle failed to honour an invitation to appear before the committee to explain the circumstances surrounding the fire that engulfed the petroleum plant on Oct. 22.
Obelle, however, forwarded a letter urging the committee to reschedule the meeting till another date, to enable him to make preparations for his daughter’s wedding in Asaba.
“I would like to request your kind consideration to give us another date.
“This is to enable me attend my daughter’s wedding taking place on Nov.1 to 2 at Agbor and Asaba,” the letter said.
The National Assembly Liaison Office of NNPC also sent a letter asking for more time to enable it to collate additional information on petroleum products and crude swap arrangement demanded by the committee.
Abe decried the attitude of government officials who allegedly showed disdain to lawmakers by failing to honour invitations to provide details of the operations of public organisations.
He, however, noted that the information required was important, saying that the NNPC needed more time to collate the documents for the convenience of the committee.
“There are also issues to do with the implementation of the NNPC budget. We have also written to them to furnish us with all the details of the budget implementation as the year progresses.
“I would like to seize this opportunity to ask them and very seriously, call on NNPC and indeed, call on all government agencies that cooperating with the legislature is important for the stability of our democracy.
“So, I will plead with NNPC, to very quickly, within the next one week, assemble all the documents that we have asked for.
“This is more so particularly documents relating to the distribution of petroleum products and the crude-swap arrangement.
“This is an area that is of great importance to the Nigerian public because we need to know exactly how this arrangement is being carried out.
“We also want to know who are people involved and what the benefits to the Nigerian people are.
“So, we will give them time to collate their documents and also within two weeks, they should collate their documents within and outside Nigeria.
“That time is enough for them to collate their documents and after two weeks, we fix a new date for this meeting.
“We hope that they will not only come for this meeting, but they will come prepared.”