Senate draws battle line with NNPCL boss Kyari over N12trn spent on refineries


The Senate on Wednesday vowed to ensure that the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, and other top executive officers of the company are sacked and face prosecution over the N12 trillion allegedly spent on turn-around maintenance (TAM) of the nation’s comatose refineries.

The Red Chamber noted that over N12 trillion has been spent on TAM, saying it has records of over $592 million, €4.8 million and £3.4 million spent between 2010 and 2023 on TAM, and yet the refineries are not working.

The threat was made by the Senate Ad hoc Committee investigating the various TAM projects of Nigerian refineries during an interactive session with NNPCL management and other executives of the oil sector.

Some of the agencies invited, whose chief executive officers failed to turn up but sent representatives instead, and who the committee threatened to sack and jail, include NNPCL, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and their subsidiaries.

The chairman of the ad hoc committee, Senator Isa Jibrin (APC, Kogi East), noted that so much has been heard about the turn-around efforts and so much has been spent on operational materials for refineries that are not working.

He avowed that they want to know the solutions to all the leakages, as there are a lot of them.

He said: “We will ask for refunds and dismissals of all the chief executives involved in the turn-around maintenance. We sent them invitations more than two weeks ago requesting documents and the documents have not been released after two weeks. So, we want the chief executives to be present.

“More worrisome is that between 2010 and 2020, the sum of N4.8 trillion was said to have been spent as operational expenses. How do you incur operational expenses that have to do with the purchase of raw materials and similar expenses on factories that are moribund? How did we come up with operational expenses? We need to know.

“These are issues that Nigerians want to know about; they want solutions to all these leakages. We know they are leakages. Whether you accept it [or not], there are leakages, and they are all forms of compromise within your various establishments.

“We know and we will not hesitate to escalate it to the highest possible level, including the possibility of refund and outright dismissal of some of the heads of some of these agencies and possibly going to jail,” he stressed.

Also speaking, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (PDP, Kebbi South) said the officials who appeared before the committee to represent their bosses should be sent back to tell their chief executives that they must appear in person.

Senator Sumaila Kawu (NNPP, Kano South) said: “We are not in the Senate for personal functions. We are representing the entire legislature. We are in a very serious business. We are independent. We can go to any length to defend our people.”

He said to the representatives who appeared for their chief executives: “We will suspend this interaction until you are ready. We have 100 ways in which we can achieve our legislative work. We just wanted to give you a fair hearing and you must respect the Constitution.”

Senator Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe Central) added that the committee deals with heads or chief executives rather than their representatives.

“We will have to agree on new dates for the submission of the documents, both hard copies and soft copies, and a date for a meeting where the chief executives must appear,” he said.

The agencies were given until Tuesday to submit the documents before the meeting with their chief executives.

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