The Senate has ordered the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to stope further actions on the planned concession of the Port Harcourt Refinery to AGIP and OANDO companies.
The Red Chamber’s directive was born out of the suspicion that the planned concession lack due process and described it as illegal and a clear attempt at ridiculing Nigerians, adding that the action would create a hole that would be hard to fill in the anti-corruption crusade of the administration.
Reacting, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, said “We hope to award the contracts by July/August and hopefully between 12 and 18 months to be able to get the refineries fully back, and the model is to bring investors, who will repair the refineries and recoup their money from the incremental production.
“We are ready to offer all the refineries for investors who have money to repair and manage. People keep mentioning AGIP and OANDO Plc but nobody has made the final decision on those, they are probably the front runners because they put a lot of work on that, but I am not in the technical committee. I am the chair of the steering committee, when the technical committee meets and finishes their work, they will refer it to the steering committee and then it goes to NNPC Board, so all the hullabaloo about transparency of the exercise will stop.”
Adopting a motion sponsored by Sabo Mohammed (APC, Jigawa State) tagged “Non- Transparent Transaction relating to the planned concession of the Port Harcourt Refinery to AGIP and OANDO by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources”, the Senate expressed doubts about the motive for the planned concession. It therefore resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine how and why such a deal was sealed and the criteria used to select AGIP and OANDO to maintain and operate the Port Harcourt Refinery.
The upper chamber also set up a seven-man investigative panel led by Abubakar Kyari to unravel the allegation of breach of due process in the concession arrangement. Other members of the panel are Dino Melaye, Aliu Wammakko, Duro Faseyi, Sabo Mohammed, Benjamin Uwajumogu and Mattew Urhoghide.