By Raphael Ekpang
The senate and House of Representatives joint committee investigating the breach of Nigeria laws by foreign vessels owners in Nigeria has ordered the GMD, NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari and D. G. NIMASA, Hon. Dakuku Peterside seven days ultimatum to appear before it to forestall the invocation of the relevant section of the Constitution
The committee which is investigating the Breach of Nigerian Laws by Foreign Vessels in Coastal Shipping of Petroleum Products in Downstream Sector of the Nigerian Maritime Industry felt insulted when the members discovered that the GMD of NNPC and DG NIMASA sent in representatives after they failed to show up when they were first invited two weeks ago.
The directive was given Tuesday during the joint committee meeting of Petroleum Downstream, Local Content and Legislative Compliance by the joint Chairman, Senator Teslim Folarin.
It will be recalled that the joint committee investigating breach of Nigerian laws by foreign vessel invited stakeholders last Tuesday to a public hearing in the National Assembly.
At that hearing, which NNPC was also absent, Dr. Mkgeorge Onyung, President of Ship owners Association of Nigeria, SOAN told committee many of the ordeals his members pass through at in the hands of NNPC in the award of contracts in favour of foreign vessel owners.
However, at this rescheduled meeting, NNPC and NIMASA were represented, but this didn’t impress the committee as they walked out their representatives with the stern warning that failure of the chief executives to appear in person at the meeting, the committee will be left with no option but to invoke the Constitution. This may entail issuance of warrant of arrest.
At the last meeting, the Chairman of the House Committee on Nigeria content, Hon. Ochiglegor Idagbo has said that the current 9th National Assembly, as constituted, would not fold it hands and allow anybody or Institution to keep disobeying the laws of Nigeria.
The lawmaker representing Bekwara/Obudu/Obanliku federal constituency said the investigative hearing was quite revealing, having listen to the Ships Owners Association of Nigeria, it is clearer that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC is in contravention of section 105 of the nautical act which says that only Nigerian indigenous ship owners should drive our coastal waters.”
Unfortunately, NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari and NIMASA boss only sent representatives, which was not acceptable to the committee, hence the threat to invoke the relevant sections of the Constitution to compel them to attend.