Dogara Kicks Off Probe Of Oil Licenses Issued By Past Governments
BEVERLY HILLS, March 24, (THEWILL) – The House of Representatives has inaugurated the Adhoc Committee for an in-depth investigation into the award of all oil prospecting licenses (OPLs) and oil mining leases (OMLs) by previous administrations.
The purpose of the investigation is to expose “some unpatriotic and unscrupulous elements within the country with active connivance of some desperate expatriates” that undermine due processes and guidelines for the acquisition of the oil blocs’ licenses.
Speaking, on Thursday, at the inauguration of Speaker Yakubu Dogara assured that the House would always do the right thing as he urged the Committee to invoke all relevant provisions of the law on any individual or organisation that might want to prove difficult in the cause of the investigation.
“It is the responsibility of this Committee to find out how many companies follow due process as well as find out the modalities of the due process,” Dogara, who was represented by Leo Ogor, said.
In his remarks, Gideon Gwani, Chairman of the Adhoc Committee, declared that the initiative was in line with the ongoing reforms in the petroleum sector and meant to reinvigorate the Federal Government’s effort.
He reiterated the resolution of the House to stop and bring the perpetrators of such illicit act to book with the view to maximise the abundant opportunities and make the sector very attractive for investors.
“Some unpatriotic and unscrupulous elements within the country with the active connivance of some desperate expatriates are undermining such efforts by flouting the due process and guidelines for acquisition of OPLs and OMLs,” he said.
“This unhealthy development is a tragedy that must be stopped and perpetrators brought to book if we are to make the very sector attractive so as to compete favourably with the rest of the world.
“As an arm of government vested with the responsibility of making laws for the common man, we cannot fold our arms and watch this unfortunate act to continue to prevail, especially with the current fall in the prices of crude oil in the international market and the negative effects it has on the Nigerian economy.
“It is also imperative to re-emphasise that no country can sit and watch this unhealthy situation to continue without taking a deliberate measure to stop the menace.
“One of the measures is to get the accurate records and data of all the companies or individuals that have been granted OPLs or OMLs for the exploration of petroleum with a view of ascertaining if they are operating within the ambit of the law and set guidelines,” he said.
Expected to appear before the Committee includes past Ministers of petroleum resources as well as the incumbent Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Ibe Kachukwu, as well as the management team of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
Story by David Oputah