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CNPP, Civil Society Coalition Tackle NNPC GCEO, Mele Kyari, Over Comments On Smuggling, Threat To Life

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Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) and allied civil society groups, under the aegis of Coalition of the National Civil Society Organisations (CNCSOs), have said that the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Limited), Mele Kyari has continued to justify positions they held on the management team of the old and new NNPC.

The convener of the Coalition and CNPP’s Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, in a statement jointly signed by the National Secretary of CNCSOs, Alhaji Ali Abacha, urged “President Muhammadu Buhari to leave a better legacy in the petroleum industry by immediately sacking the current management team of NNPC Limited for gross incompetence.”

The coalition was reacting to media reports credited to the NNPC GCEO, Mr. Kyari, who absolved the company of any blamed for the persistent smuggling of petroleum products across the borders as well as the Mallam Kyari’s disclosure that his life was being threatened for working to reform Nigeria’s oil sector.

Noting that the comments credited to the NNPC boss were “fresh clear vindication of the CNPP and the CNCSOs on our positions on NNPC”, the coalition said that “the only option left for the NNPC GCEO Mallam Mele Kyari is to resign forthwith.”

The coalition added that by “blaming continued smuggling of petroleum products on sustained corrupt subsidy regime, with no individual or company undergoing diligent prosecution, the NNPC has proved beyond reasonable doubts that the management team of the company needs immediate replacement as they have ran out of profitable ideas.

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“Today, the perennial petroleum products scarcity occasioned by corruption and incompetence on the part of the NNPC management team led by Mallam Kyari remains an ugly part of the daily lives of poor masses in Nigeria who cannot afford a single meal per day due to high cost of food and other basic needs.

“Out of experience, Nigerians are aware that any marginal increase in the pump price of petroleum products results in obvious increase in food prices as movement of goods from one location to another depends largely on road transportation.

“This is why the secret in the pump price of petrol, and non-availability of fuel at most fillings stations, including those operated by the NNPC, remain the indelible footprints of incompetent managers of Nigeria’s petroleum resources.

“We were shocked that while speaking at a summit organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-Corruption, Mallam Kyari insinuated that as long as arbitrage is there, you will continue to have these issues and you cannot hold NNPC accountable for it because it is a value chain that involves everything and everybody.

“This obvious expression of helplessness by the GCEO of NNPC Limited is the highest level of the display of incompetence by the managers of Nigeria’s oild industry as leadership is all about taking responsibilities and providing solutions to challenges.

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“The trademark of the NNPC has been the manufacturing of excuses. Is NNPC saying that they cannot set up monitoring team and systems that will ensure that fuel lifted from their depots are delivered at the assigned destination in this computer age?

“Recently, the same NNPC blamed fuel scarcity in the country on the flooding of Lokoja, the Kogi State capital. Today, the company has returned to the age-long tale of blaming smuggling for fuel scarcity, even when the Federal Government has all the security apparatuses to arrest such trends should there be such sabotage.

“The question is; why has NNPC not initiated any new refinery project if it thinks that fuel subsidy is a major problem?”, the CNPP asked.

On the alleged threats to his life by those who are opposed to changes caused by the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act, the coalition said “the GCEO of NNPC gave himself out when he said that “There is threat to life, I can say this, I have several death threats but we are not bothered about this”.

“We therefore challenge the GCEO of the NNPC to make public any evidence of such threats to his life or present same to security agencies if indeed the threat to his life narrative is not another round of fabrication to seek public sympathy by shading crocodile tears.

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“Why would those behind such criminal act as threat to the life of an occupier of such an important position in Nigeria’s economy not be apprehended and brought to book so that the country can reap the benefits of the Petroleum Industry Act?

“We recall that the NNPC has been severally accused of failing to met Nigeria’s OPEC quota in the international oil market, which the company conveniently blamed on oil theives.

“When accused of not refining Petroleum products locally, the NNPC management resorted to the known wasteful venture referred to a “Turn-Around-Maintenance” of the existing Nigeria’s refinaries.

“Since the life of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, Nigeria’s refineries remained comatose with no plans to build any new one because the huge budgets for subsidy and maintenance of irredeemable refineries end up in private pockets.

“Needless to mention the numerous uninvestigated allegations of non-remittances of oil revenues to the Treasury Single Account (TSA), subsidy payments without appropriation, illegal oil swap deals and sales, among economic sabotage from within.

“These are among the cases the incoming administration must confront to uncover the hands behind these dirty deals and sanitised the oil sector after May 29, 2023”, the Coalition stated.

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