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Anxiety over leadership as NPRA replaces PPPRA, PEF

By Collins Olayinka and Adamu Abuh, Abuja
08 October 2021   |   2:45 am
There was anxiety at the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management) Board, yesterday when the National Assembly confirmed members

There was anxiety at the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management) Board, yesterday when the National Assembly confirmed members of the Nigerian Downstream and Midstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NPRA).

The members confirmed are Idaere Gogo Ogan, Chairman; Farouk A. Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer; Abiodun Adeniji, Executive Director, Finance and Accounts; and Ogbugo Ukoha, Executive Director, Distributions System, Storage and Retail Infrastructure.

There was also some confusion over the fate of the Executive Secretaries of both the PPPRA and PEF. Indeed, the Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Saidu Abdulkadir, had his tenure replaced in August when he suddenly resumed after about three months on leave.

On September 24, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the appointment of Ahmed Bobboi as Executive Secretary of PEF alongside those at the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Dr Bello Gusau and Nigeria Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDM), Simbi Wabote.

Now that a new organisation has emerged from the ashes of PPPRA and PEF, the fate of Bobboi and Abdulkadir remain unknown.

Abdulkadir was seconded to the PPPRA as Executive Secretary from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Whether he will be sent back to the NNPC, which is undergoing major restructuring in the next few months is not clear.

This came as the Chief Operating Officer of NPRA, Farouk Ahmed, has assured the PPPRA and PEF workforces that there would not be retrenchment or unmerited retirement under the new organisation.

Farouk, a member of the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) and Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), was the Executive Secretary of PPPRA between February 20, 2014 and February 16, 2016.

Some of the staff, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, expressed fears that the new organisation might do away with the services as placements may not favour them, especially with the mandate of the NPRA that differentiates it from PEF and PPPRA as currently constituted.

But another source in PEF said staff of the Fund would move to the new organisation without many changes.

He said: “I expect the staff of PEF to form the nucleus of the new organisation because the mandates are not different; just some new additions and redirections in the way things were done before. I also expect the staff of the PPPRA to migrate to the new organisations as well.”

Meanwhile, the Senate confirmation followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Downstream Petroleum Sector during plenary.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Sabo Mohammed (Jigawa South West), presented the report.

Mohammed, in his presentation, said their appointments are in accordance with the provisions of Section 34(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.

He said: “The nominees possess the technical knowledge and professional expertise to be Chairman, Chief Executive and Executive Directors of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.”

He said the Committee did not receive any petition against their nominations for appointment. He said the Nigeria Police Force and Department of State Services (DSS) cleared them, and that they also possess the Code of Conduct Acknowledgement Slips.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks, said the nominees are primed to lay the foundation for the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority.

He advised them to work in collaboration with the relevant committees of the National Assembly to ensure positive outcomes in the oil and gas sector.