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Senate summons NNPC’s Baru, others over alleged revocation, re-award of OML 13 without due process

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The Senate during a plenary

• Reps lament slow work on Ogoni clean-up
• Urge state of emergency

The Senate has invited the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, to explain his roles in the alleged abuse of due process in the revocation of Oil Mining Licence (OML 13) and its subsequent re-award to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, a subsidiary of NNPC, by executive fiat.

The upper legislative chamber has also summoned the management of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) over its involvement in the same matter.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions Samuel Anyanwu, who spoke yesterday during the committee’s meeting in Abuja, said it had become imperative to carry out a holistic investigation into the revocation, as Nigeria cannot afford another Malabu OPL 245 scandal.

Anyanwu, who said the petition on the matter would be thoroughly considered, lamented that the management of SPDC had failed to honour the committee’s invitation three times in the past.

He, therefore, threatened that the committee would not hesitate to issue a warrant of arrest on the SPDC officials if they fail to appear before the committee this time.

In another development, the House of Representatives Committee on Environment Inhabitant has lamented slow action on the Ogoni clean-up and stressed the need for a state of emergency in the area for the exercise to be done urgently.

Chairman of the committee, Obinna Chidioka, said it was worrisome that the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) is still talking rhetoric and showing pictures without concrete evidence on work done on the project.

Chidioka stated this when the House committee visited HYPREP Demonstration sites in Korokoro Tai, Ogoni, in Tai Local Council of the state.

The lawmaker, who stated that the issue of the clean-up would now be handled with all seriousness, called on the Federal Government to promptly release funds required to ensure that the project is actualised timely.

He also urged the government to make HYPREP an agency instead of a programme to help remove the bottleneck.

“We are desirous to see that Ogoniland is cleaned up, not just cleaned up but clean with a specific time-limit to enable everyone in Ogoni have normal life again,” he said.

Also, the member representing Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Federal Constituency, Henry Nwawuba, regretted that the people have continued to suffer and yet there is no clear package about the clean-up exercise.

He said: “HYPREP is just going round organising workshops and taking pictures, while the environment is still left suffering, no more fish, periwinkle. We cannot continue to be suffering. Why is it that by this time, there is no clear package in the clean-up?

“HYPREP is talking too much rhetorics, nothing is being done, there is need for state of emergency in the area because things need to be done urgently and we are here to ensure that the Ogoni clean-up is done as soon as possible “

Another member representing Ukwa East/West Federal Constituency, Uzoma Abonta, said it is necessary to create a specific timeline for the project to be delivered, otherwise, HYPREP will keep singing and presenting pictures from year to year.

He, therefore, called for prompt and adequate funding of the project to enable it achieve the objective.

The Project Co-ordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Dekil Marvin, disclosed that the major challenge of the agency was its inability to access fund directly from the Federal Government, stating that it can only access funds through the Governing Council.

He said: “The process of the clean-up has been consistent. We are doing all within the law but we hope that a review on the law will help push the whole process faster.

“Emergency measures have been done like the provision of water, opening more demonstration project sites and carrying out health impact assessment, among others”

Marvin, therefore, called on the lawmakers to help deliver the overall objective of government towards cleaning the Ogoni area and ensuring restoration of the livelihood of the people.



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