The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has condemned the non-appearance of top officials of the Federal Government before the Ad Hoc Committee on the Volume of Fuel Consumed Daily in Nigeria at its investigative hearing in Abuja on Tuesday.
Gbajabiamila particularly called out the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; and the Chief Executive Office of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Melee Kyari; as well as the Managing Director of Petroleum Pipeline Marketing Company, Isiaku Abdullahi, among others.
Consequently, the committee, chaired by Abdulkadir Abdullahi, summoned the GMD of the NNPC, MD of the PPMC, Accountant-General of the Federation, CBN governor, Minister of State and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Minister of Finance and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance.
The Speaker, who was represented by the Deputy Majority Leader, Peter Akpatason, was miffed by the fact that most of the critical stakeholders were absent from the hearing while those sent to represent a few of them were officials whose cadres were lower than those required to answer questions on behalf of their organisations.
Akpatason said, “I have just been informed that we have letters from two organisations – NNPC and Nigerian Ports Authority. The essence of public hearing is to give opportunity to various stakeholders to participate in the exercise. It is meant for you to rub minds with the members of the committee, with a view to ascertaining exactly what the issues are and to provide your own perspective to the story, so that at the end of the day whatever the parliament is arriving at has the benefit of your input and as such, the outcome is likely to be objective.
He asked chairman of the committee to make it known to the House “if there is any need to sanction any organisation that fails to appear.”
Several members of the committee also took turns to condemn the non-appearance.
Among them was Aniekan Umanah, who said, “I think it is very insensitive on the part of the very critical custodians and executors of the problems that we are in and facing in Nigeria not to be here.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Director (Distribution System, Storage, Retail and Infrastructure), Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Ogbugo Ukoha, said a memo had been submitted to the committee showing details of PMS pricing template, reflecting trends in crude oil prices from 2015 to 2022, up to the 24th of June as well as the list of all depots and storage facilities with the litres, the number of filling stations nationwide with total storage capacity, PMS trucking and the records of PMS truck out from depots from January 2017 to June 2022.
Several members of the panel picked holes in the NMDPRA director’s presentation, accusing Ukoha of withholding the required information.
Also, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, National President, Chinedu Okoronkwo, also said the association does not have details of daily PMS daily consumption.