Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation were visibly angry yesterday with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, as he shunned an official invitation to appear before the committee in respect to the proposed sale of refineries by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
It would be recalled that last week, the committee halted the proposed privatisation of the three refineries in the country and summoned the minister to appear before it to explain the rationale behind the proposal.
The three refineries are located in Port-Hacourt, Kaduna and Warri respectively.
While arguing that the proposed exercise by the NNPC violated the provisions of the Bureau for Public Enterprise, BPE, Act, the committee accused the NNPC of acting unilaterally by going ahead with the exercise without involving other stakeholders as contained in the act
In this vein, chairman of the committee, Hon. Ahmed Yerima ruled that the NNPC should stop the exercise immediately for gross violation of the BPE Act.
At the resumed hearing on Thursday, the absence of Kachikwu stalled the re-scheduled public hearing of the committee with officials of the NNPC and BPE.
The hearing scheduled at the hearing room 1 (White House) of the assembly complex commenced at 11.45am and was adjourned few minutes later, when the committee was informed that the minister would not make it to the public hearing.
The committee had invited the minister to appear before it to explain reasons why the NNPC rather than the BPE opened bid for the sale of the refineries.
It quickly adjourned sitting when the executive director (Refining) of the NNPC, Mr Anigbo Kragba told the committee that the minister travelled abroad for a submit of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, holding in Vienna, Austria.
Reacting to the development, Yerima frowned at the minister’s action by not properly informing the committee about the trip.
“The impression people have, including the minister, is that the committee is opposed to privatisation; that is not true. This investigation is to ensure that the NNPC follows due process on the privatisation of these refineries,” Yerima stated.
He told the NNPC officials that the committee might be forced to invoke relevant sections of the constitution to deal with the minister if he failed to appear before it within one week.

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