Fuel Scarcity: Senate to conduct Nationwide filling stations inspection, summons NNPC GMD

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…As Reps set to probe TCN over $300m power project***

The Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream has concluded plans to conduct a nationwide inspection of filling stations, over recent fears of fuel scarcity in the country.

This is coming, just as the House of Representatives decides to investigate the delay in the execution of $300 million Nigeria Electricity and Gas Improvement Project (NEGIP) by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

Chairman of the Senate committee, Sen. Kabiru Marafa, stated this on Tuesday during a news briefing, shortly after its investigative hearing on the matter on Tuesday in Abuja.
Marafa said the senate would not watch some unpatriotic persons put Nigerians through any form of hardship, particularly during the yuletide.

He noted that though the senate had adjourned to commence budget defence, members of the committee would take time out to embark on the oversight.

According to him, members of the committee will be regrouped into subcommittees to make it possible to visit all the states.

“First things first; the welfare of Nigerians especially in this season is that a lot of them will be travelling to reunite with their love ones is paramount.

“We will take time out to embark on a serious oversight. We will break into sub-committees to be able to cover the entire country.

“We have already mandated the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to furnish us with the daily distribution.

“This is to enable the sub-committees to be armed with detailed evidence of which filling station was given what quantity of fuel.

“We will also get these details from the filling stations to ascertain when last they got supplies and the quantity sold.

“We will not stop at that. We will also inspect tanks in filling stations to ensure that Nigerians are not taken advantage of,’’ he said.

In the meantime, the committee has summoned the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru, to appear before it on Thursday, having failed to appear on Tuesday.

“Immediately the issue came up, we contacted NNPC to know the situation of things and we were told that the rumours were unfounded and that they have written rejoinders to that effect.

“However, given the seriousness of the matter, we decided to invite the GMD to come and brief on the development and to enable Nigerians know the situation of things.

“Unfortunately he wrote informing us of his inability to honour the invitation.
“We hope he will be back by Thursday to tell Nigerians the true situation. Even if he cannot make it he can send people that are in good authority to speak on his behalf.

“There is an Executive Director in charge of Downstream who oversees the downstream generally. There is also the Managing Director of Petroleum and Product Marketing Company.

“So, whatever it is by next tomorrow we will be able to tell Nigerians what the situation is like and what the Senate is going to do in the event of any eventuality,’’ he said, warning petrol stations in the habit of hoarding fuel to inflict untold pains on Nigerians to desist, as it would not be business as usual.

He assured that the senate would work with relevant agencies of government to punish any filling station found wanting.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives says it will investigate the delay in the execution of 300 million dollars Nigeria Electricity and Gas Improvement Project (NEGIP) by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

In a resolution which followed a motion on matters-of-urgent-public-importance by Rep. Yunusa Abubakar (Gomber-APC) at plenary on Tuesday, the house mandated its Committee on Power to immediately probe the interim management of the company.

The motion is entitled “Transmission Company of Nigeria Management and the Future of the Electric Power Sector Reforms in Nigeria: The Urgent Need to Facilitate Swift Action in the Management of TCN through Investigation.’’

Moving the motion, Abubakar expressed worry that the TCN had not been able to implement the NEGIP project.

“The House is concerned that there was negotiation between TCN and the World Bank of the sum of 468 million dollars IDA for the proposed Nigeria Electricity Transmission Project (NETAP).

“The project scheduled for August 29 had been postponed due to changes made to the staffing of the Project Management Unit (PMU) for World Bank-assisted projects in the TCN,’’ he said.

Abubakar noted that the non-compliance by the interim management of TCN with the changes to the PMU would not only affect the future projects but may also impact negatively on the implementation of ongoing projects.

He said that it may also affect the technical assistance in NEGIP to support the power sector recovery programme.

The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.

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