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‘Reorganisation of DPR management in order’

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Department of Petroleum Resources

Though the Federal Government said its decision to re-organise the management structure at the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), was done to align with the vision of an effective and efficient industry regulator, there appears to be no end in sight to the matter as relieved officers seek redress in the court.

In March, the Honorable Minister of Petroleum Resources had approved that some deputy directors across several units proceed on compulsory retirement with immediate effect.

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The agency proceeded to appoint new persons to fill the vacant positions in the regulatory agency.

However, with some of the affected staff seeking redress through the courts, the Federal Government noted that with or without attaining the statutory retirement criteria by the length of service or age, the affected staff were found liable “under Section 18.10.6 (Vi & Viii) Corporate Policy & Procedure Guide (CPPG), which states that appointment of a staff may be terminated for fraud or dishonesty and also disloyalty through divulging official secret or classified documents at the detriment of the organisation.”

With the authority of the DPR Director being questioned, analysts noted that every chief executive like the Director, who rose through the ranks of the organization, is empowered to reorganize the structure to fit into the vision of the Federal Government, and in line with the exigencies of the job and set goals for achieving the corporate mission and vision.

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An industry source revealed that approval for the reorganization was duly obtained from the President, who is also the Minister of Petroleum Resources, and conveyed via a letter from the Chief of Staff (CoS) to the President to the Minister of State, and authority is given to proceed.

Following a petition by the affected directors seeking President Buhari’s intervention over their retirement on grounds of “incompetence and disloyalty”, The Guardian learnt that the DPR might not rescind its decision as such a move would establish an imminent crisis between the Unions and DPR.

Also, there are concerns as others who have moved up the ladder now occupy offices of the retired staff.

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The President on July 6, had directed the recall of the retired officers through a memo to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation by the Presidency through the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.

This was a fall-out of the agitation by some of the deputy directors who were due for retirement in 2026 and 2029, having protested, and alleged unfairness and a breach of Public Service Rules.

An industry source who spoke with The Guardian on the matter noted that the directive of the Head of Service questions the power of Mr President/Minister of Petroleum Resources to authorise the reorganisation of the Department, adding that, the affected staff in addition to resorting to superior influence through the HoS, also has sought legal relief through the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, thereby effectively suing Mr President who is the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources.

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“Except for one of them, all the 10 other retirees have duly signed for and collected their terminal benefits worth over N2 billion since April 2021.

“Finally, four of those already paid off are among the five claimants in the deposition at the NICN, Abuja, seeking additional N100 million for wrongful retirement”, the source added.

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