Fuel Scarcity: Senate probes Kachikwu, Baru to be Questioned


All stage is set for the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, to explain to the Nigerian Senate the reasons for the lingering fuel crisis.

The two top officials of the petroleum sector were on December 28, 2017 summoned by the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream).

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The summon followed a directive by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, that the committee cut short its Christmas and New Year recess and immediately convene a meeting with industry stakeholders.

The Chairman of the Committee, Kabiru Marafa, last week announced that the two and other stakeholders in the petroleum sector have been invited to a crucial meeting on January 4, 2018.

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The fuel crisis across Nigeria has been on for about one month, with officials giving various reasons for it.

The meeting is coming after majority of Nigerians who participated in an opinion poll conducted by PREMIUM TIMES asked President Muhammadu Buhari to resign as Minister of Petroleum Resources.

In another dramatic turn on the fuel crisis, the Senate in a statement by its spokesperson, Sabi Abdullahi, on Thursday said a statement allegedly credited to the Chief of Staff to the Federation, Abba Kyari, that oil marketers are being owed due to the failure of the Senate to sign a loan request from the executive was untrue.

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Even though the Mr. Baru, on Wednesday declared that NNPC had successfully ended the fuel scarcity, latest monitoring reports by PREMIUM TIMES’ correspondents indicate that although queues have reduced in many areas, prices remain above the official N145 per litre.

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“Like we all know, Nigeria has witnessed another unfortunate incident of fuel scarcity. We were able to tame the monster since our government came to power but it reared its head again. 2017 witnessed a fuel scarcity Christmas.” Kabir Marafa, Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream).

The meeting was convened by a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on petroleum.

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Mr. Marafa noted that the meeting will only focus on the ongoing fuel crisis while other issues will be dealt with by other committees at appropriate times.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, on behalf of President Buhari apologised to Nigerians on the fuel crisis.

People take advantage of situations like this and that’s why there was hoarding as well as stealing of products meant for Nigerians – Kachikwu

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The Senate committee probing the ongoing fuel crisis was thrown into a rowdy session as three people introduced themselves as presidents of the Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria, IPMAN.

The first to have his name on record was Obasi Lawson while the two others, Sanusi Fari and Okoronko Chinedu, later introduced themselves as presidents of IPMAN.

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“I am Okoronko Chinedu, elected IPMAN Chairman affirmed by the Appeal Court two week ago,” Mr. Okoronkwo said much to the surprise of the audience.

In a dramatic manner, Mr Fari, almost immediately, rose up to introduce himself also as IPMAN President.

Chairman of the Senate committee on Petroleum (Downstream) Kabir Marafa, called on the Permanent Secretary of IPMAN to meet with the three, have a common ground and present on their behalf.

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Hamilton Nwosa

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