$1 billion pipeline scandal: Senate gives five days ultimatum to NNPC, companies involved

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The Senate has threatened the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) as well as oil and gas companies involved in the execution of the Obite-Ubeta-Rumuji (OUR) and North Option Pipeline (NOPL) Gas Pipelines Projects to appear before it and explain the astronomical cost of completing the two major gas pipeline projects by these companies.

Subsequently, the Senate gave the NNPC and the International Oil Companies, IOCs five days ultimatum to appear and explain how far they have gone with the $1 billion Gas Pipeline project and at the expiration of the deadline, it would be forced to issue a warrant of arrest. For failing to appear at a public hearing before the Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, PDP, Akwa Ibom North East led Senate Committee on Gas Resources,  the Committee yesterday ordered  them to appear before it unfailingly on Tuesday next week.

Members of the committee who were angry, however expressed disappointment with the management of NNPC as well as the management of TOTAL Exploration and Production Company, NAPIMS Texaco and  Saipem for failing to attend the investigative hearing on the project by the committee. Committee Chairman, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan said it was disrespectful for the companies to send representatives below the rank of Managing Director to attend such sensitive meeting, adding that, “This is a deliberate attempt to frustrate the investigation. We frown at the attitude of these companies.”

Other members of the committee, Senator Hope Uzodimma and Senator Barnabas Gemade equally expressed disappointment over attempts to frustrate the investigations, just as they called on the members to issue the companies ultimatum failing which the committee should invoke the powers of the Senate to issue a warrant of arrest to the recalcitrant companies. Speaking further, Senator Albert  who noted that the committee was compelled to adjourn the meeting today because the companies failed to appear at the session yesterday, said that the committee has been investigating the astronomical cost of completing the two major gas pipeline projects by these companies.

He said, “We have been on this investigation for sometime now. Only recently we embarked on an on-the-spot assessment of the pipeline projects and we have finished our investigations.”

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