By Aaron Ossai
House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating Crude Oil Theft in Nigeria has insisted that the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroluem Corporation Ltd, NNPCL, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA and the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA must appear in person before it and not by proxy.
Chairman of the House Committee, Hon. Alhassan Rurum gave the ruling on the matter on the second day of the investigative hearing of the Committee where the heads of the agencies were invited but they rather sent their Directors as representatives.
He noted that most of the invited CEOs had written to the Committee asking for permission to be represented by these agencies heads’ subordinate staff as they are not disposed to appear in person and honour the Committee’s invitation.
He said that the Committee has the powers under Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to invite and cause the appearance of any individual, government official or copoporate entity charged with the responsibility of administration of public funds.
At the hearing,the Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA and the Nigeria Upstream Regulatory Authority, NUPRA said that the pipelines, well heads and flow stations are the major targets of these oil thieves.
They also blamed faulty metering procedure, faulty instrument and lack of technology as impediments in the efforts of these agencies in tackling oil theft.
A representative of the CEO of NMDPRA, Mr Farouk Ahmed and the Director of of Operations, Mr Oseni had told the Committee that there is no proper monitoring of the metering of the crude oil produced for exports due to lack of collaboration among agencies.
A Committee member, Hon.Awaji Inombek Abiante (Rivers, PDP) said that the pipeline location is not really the major cause of oil theft rather it is the neglect of oil host communities.
In his ruling, the Committee Chairman, Hon.Rurum said that the heads of all the invited agencies must appear in person on Monday September 11, 2023 the next adjourned sitting date.
He also requested that the invited CEOs of these agencies come with a list of all other agencies working in export terminal of all the nations oil sector.