Senate probes revocation of oil blocks

The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions has begun investigation into alleged revocation of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 13 and awarding of same to the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) through executive fiat.

The investigation is coming two weeks after the letter written by Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, to President Muhammadu Buhari was leaked to the media. Kachikwu, in his letter, alleged lack of due process on the part of the NNPC Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr. Maikanti Baru, in the award of contracts valued at about $26 billion.

The committee has also summoned Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) over its involvement in the revocation and re-awarding of the OML 13 without going through the statutory Licensing Bids Rounds, just as it was alleged that the transaction was shrouded in mystery and under-the-table circumstances.

The committee said it has become imperative to carry out a holistic investigation into the revocation as Nigeria cannot afford another Malabu Oil Producing Lease (OPL) 245 scandal at a time the country is struggling to navigate out of recession.

Speaking in Abuja yesterday, committee chairman, Samuel Anyanwu, warned that Senate will issue a warrant of arrest on the SPDC Managing Director if he fails to appear.

Anyanwu said the committee will issue a warrant of arrest on him against the backdrop that the chief executive officer of SPDC had been invited three times by the committee and he failed to appear. He assured that the Senate will do everything possible to block all the conduits being used to syphon the country’s resources.

He said even though there was nothing wrong with inviting foreign investors, the action must, however, not kill or swallow indigenous companies.

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