nnpcThere are indications that the sacked Group Managing Director, GMD of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Joseph Dawha, and eight other Group Executives Directors, GEDs who were equally sacked last week, have had their passports seized for security reasons.
A highly placed security source told Nigerian Pilot Sunday that the move is to stop them from interfering in the ongoing probe in the oil sector, especially the controversial crude oil swap. This paper also gathered that the international passports of the affected former NNPC management team are currently with the operatives of the DSS headquarters in Abuja.
According to the source, “the sacked NNPC management staffs are highly influential and wealthy if not placed under what is described as security watch they may jet out of the country”.
But a top security brass explained that they can travel freely within the country but not overseas.
President Muhammadu Buhari following on-going reforms in the oil sector relieved Dawha and the eight executive directors of their appointments.
The President had promised to effect far-reaching changes in the both downstream and upstream sectors of the oil industry as part of the measures to control oil theft and block financial leakages in the system.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and Department of States Security Service, DSS, are also investigating the various roles of the affected officers in the crude oil swap and sundry dealings in the NNPC.
Their cases also bother on allegations bordering on abuse of office, under handing oil dealings in the NNPC.
The Federal Government had Monday last week replaced the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; and announced the sacking of all the eight executive directors of the corporation.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr. Ohi Alegbe, confirmed this in a statement on Wednesday last week, in Abuja.
Alegbe said in the statement, “The Federal Government has approved the retirement of all eight group executive directors of the NNPC with immediate effect.
The affected group executive directors who are under security watch are: Mr. Bernard Otti, former GED, Finance and Accounts; Dr. Timothy Okon, former acting GED, Exploration and Production, who also doubled as the Coordinator, Corporate Planning and Strategy; Mr. Adebayo Ibirogba, former Engineering and Technology; Dr. David Ige, Gas and Power; Ms. Aisha Abdurrahman, Commercial and Investment; Dr. Dan Efebo, Corporate Services; Mr. Ian Udoh, Refining & Petrochemicals and Dr. Attahiru Yusuf, Business Development.
The new Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, personally conveyed the Federal Government’s decision to the GEDs. Buhari had pledged to fix the oil sector, rid the industry of rot and recover money stolen by operators in the sector.
While in a working visit to the United States of America, he sought the cooperation of the country in the recovery of stolen funds even as Governor Adams Oshiomhole disclosed that former President Goodluck Jonathan might have stashed away as much $6.5 billion in foreign banks.
In the quest to walkk his talk, Buhari last Tuesday, relieved Dr. Dawha of his appointment as the GMD of the national oil firm and replaced him with Kachikwu, who until his appointment was the Executive Vice Chairman and General Counsel of Exxon-Mobil (Africa).
President Buhari-led Federal Government, which, through the NNPC, regulates and participates in the country’s petroleum industry, had in late June dissolved the NNPC board.
The NNPC was established on April 1, 1977 as a merger of the Nigerian National Oil Corporation and the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel.
The law that created the firm permits it to manage the joint ventures between the Federal Government and some foreign multinational corporations, including Shell, Agip, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total. Through the collaboration with the companies, the Federal Government conducts petroleum exploration and production.
But industry observers had on several occasions complained that the corporation lacked supervision, stressing that it had degenerated to a rent-collector for the government with less attention to transparency and accountability.
On Tuesday, the New York-based Natural Resources Governance Initiative canvassed the need to overhaul the management of the country’s oil sales process by the NNPC as top priority for the Buhari-led administration to stem waste and loss of billions of dollars in revenue.
The international watchdog said in one of its latest reports that the NNPC’s approach to oil sales was suffering from high corruption risks and had failed to maximise returns for the nation.
The authors of the NRGI report, led by Aaron Sayne, said, “We find that management of the NNPC’s oil sales has worsened in recent years, and particularly since 2010. The largest problems stem from the rising number of ad hoc, makeshift practices the corporation has introduced to work around its deeper structural problems.”
The NNPC receives about one million barrels of oil per day, or almost half of the country’s total production, part of which is sold to its subsidiary, Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, PPMC for the country’s refineries, while a larger volume is sold to traders.

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