By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Senate yesterday asked the Nigeria National Petroleum Company, NNPC, as well as oil and gas companies involved in the execution of the Obite-Ubeta-Rumuji (OUR) and North Option Pipeline (NOPL) Gas Pipelines Projects to appear before it to explain the astronomical cost of completing the two major gas pipeline projects by Ethese companies.
Subsequently, the Senate gave the NNPC and the International Oil Companues, IOCs five days ultimatum to appear and explain how far they had gone with the $1 billion Gas Pipeline project and at the expiration of the deadline, it would be forced to issue a warrant for their arrest.
For failing to appear before the Senator Bassey Akpan(PDP, Akwa Ibom North East) led Senate Committee on Gas Resources at a public hearing, the Committee yesterday, ordered them to appear before the committee unfailingly on Tuesday next week.
Members of the committee who were angry, however expressed disappointment with the management of NNPC as well as the management of TOTAL Exploration and Production Company, NAPIMS, Texaco and Saipem for failing to attend the investigative hearing on the project by the committee.
Senator Akpan said it was disrespectful for the companies to send representatives below the rank of Managing Director to attend such sensitive meeting, adding, “This is a deliberate attempt to frustrate the investigation. We frown at the attitude of these companies.”
Other members of the committee, Senator Hope Uzodimma and Senator Barnabas Gemade equally expressed disappointment over attempts to frustrate the investigations, just as they called on members to issue the companies ultimatum failing which the committee should invoke the powers of the Senate to issue a warrant for the arrest to the recalcitrant companies.
Senator Albert who noted that the committee was compelled to adjourn the meeting yesterday because the companies failed to appear at the session, said that the committee has been investigating the astronomical cost of completing the two major gas pipeline projects by these companies.
He said, “We have been on this investigation for a sometime now. Only recently, we embarked on an on-the-spot assessment of the pipeline projects and we have finished our investigations.”