By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- TWENTY – one days into the announcement by the Senate to begin probe into the accusation of the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru of insubordination and abuse of due process as raised by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, members of the committee, yesterday gave insight into why the assignment was yet kick start.
Speaking with Journalists yesterday night, a member of the Committee and Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources, Downstream, Senator Kabiru Marafa, APC, Zamfara Central, yesterday, explained that the Committee could not start because the three chairmen of Senate Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream, Downstream and Gas) were all away with the Senate President Bukola Saraki to attend a function in Russia.
According to him, the search for a Clerk for the ad- hoc Committee was also responsible for the delay in take off.
Marafa said, “We held our inaugural meeting today. The chairman welcomed members and gave reasons why the committee could not start (the probe) earlier than now. One, we had to wait for communication on the directive by the Senate to the committee. When the Senate sets up an ad hoc committee, there are some procedures that mandate has to pass through, including the appointment of a clerk and provision of a secretariat. An ad hoc committee is different from a standing committee: a standing committee has everything in place but an ad hoc committee does not.
“Two, the three chairmen of Senate Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream, Downstream and Gas) were all away with the Senate President to attend a function in Russia. There was the IPU and there were series of meetings with some oil and gas companies in Russia, which involved all the three committee chairmen.
“The chairman of the ad hoc committee also told members that it was almost impossible to call the meeting without the three chairmen because the issues under probe are oil related. Those are the reason why the ad hoc committee did not kick start.”
It would be recalled that the Senate has on 4th October announced the composition of a committee to carry out a holistic investigation into the accusation of the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru of insubordination and abuse of due process as raised by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu.
The Senate had also resolved yto investigate Kachikwu’s call for the cancellation of the recent appointments in the NNPC, just as it had resolved to carry out a probe into the finances and activities of the NNPC.
The decision to probe into the allegations raised by Kachikwu against Baru was sequel to additional prayer by Senator Kabir Marafa, APC, Zamfara Central during a discussion on a motion by Senator Samuel Anyanwu, PDP, Imo East entitled, ” Allegation of Corruption against against NNPC Trading: Time to conduct a holistic investigation.
Anyanwu’s prayer which was taken by the Senators read, “Constitute an ad-hoc committee to investigate the policy introduced by the current NNPC Trading Limited.”
The Committee which has Senator Aliyu Wamakko as Chairman, has Senators Bassey Albert Akpan, PDP, Akwa Ibom North East; Tayo Alasoadura, APC, Ondo Central; Kabir Marafa, APC, Zamfara Central; Samuel Anyanwu, PDP, Imo East; Ahmed Ogembe, PDP, Kogi Central; Rose Oko, PDP, Cross River North; Chukwuka Utazi, Enugu North and Baba Kaka Garbai, APC, Borno Central as members.