By Luka Binniyat
The House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (downstream) was livid as Dr. Rilwan Lukman, Minister of Petroleum; Odein Ajumogobia, Minister of State for Petroleum and Mohammed Barkindo, Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Tuesday shunned its invitation to an investigativeÂ hearing over alleged contract scam worth $75 million at the Kaduna Refinery.
Clever Ikisikpo (PDP Delta) chairman of the committee at the Hearing attended by other subordinates of the principal officers vowed to raise a motion in plenary compellingÂ the ministers and the GMD to appear before the House on the matter, or face the necessary sanctions.
He said that the Ministers and the GMD of the NNPC had snubbed the invitation of the committee over the issue not less than four times.
â€œNigeria is too big for a group or persons to be deceivedâ€, he said,
â€œThe contract agreement signed for the Kaduna Refinery on its Turn Around Maitainace (TAM) was $23 millionâ€, he observed. â€œBut now that same TAM has taken about $75 million, and without appropriation and due process.
â€œThis shows that there is cabal in the NPPC that does what it likesâ€, he said.
â€œThe NNPC, according to our findings unilaterally awarded the contract to itself, against all financial regulationsâ€, he alleged.
â€œHow can NNPC award the contract for procurement for itself. We can now see how you people are scuttling the efforts of Nigerians at sustainable energy needâ€, he told the hall.
â€œThe Committee will be compelled to raise a motion before the House tomorrow.â€, he warned.
Ikisikpo also expressed displeasure over the state of the four refineries despite, what he said, wasÂ the colossal releaseÂ millions of dollars their TAMs
In her response, Elizabeth Emurem, Permanent Secretary of the Petroleum explained that the ministers wereÂ in an urgent meeting and could not come.
She however asked the representative of the NNPC to respond to the inquiry on the state of the refineries.
On his on part, Austin Oniwon, Group Executive Director Refining and Petrochemicals in NNPC said hisÂ GMDÂ was in Britain to attend a security meeting that had something to do with oil pipelines.