The Joint Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources yesterday summoned the Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and her counterpart in the Ministry of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, to appear before it on Monday to explain the reasons for protracted fuel crisis in the country.
The ministry also summoned the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Joseph Dawah; Managing Director of Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) as well as the Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
Also summoned by the committee were representatives of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria and the National Association of Road Transport Owners.
According to a statement by chairmen of the upstream and downstream committees, Senator Emmanuel Paulker and Magnus Abe, the summons was in observance of Senate mandate on Thursday, asking them to find out why fuel scarcity has refused to disappear on Nigerian streets for over two months.
While drawing Senate attention to lingering fuel crisis in the country on Thursday, Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi, said the Senate needed to know in clear terms if fuel scarcity had now been designed to be part and parcel of Nigerians’ daily experience or not.
“We need to know whether fuel scarcity has come to stay. We need to know whether it has become part of our life. We need to plan. By planning and talking about it, we are sensitising Nigerians to brace up for the impending issue of fuel scarcity whether it is going to be here permanently or temporary.
“But we can’t know all these things until we hear from the experts. Therefore, my prayer is to ask the committee on downstream and upstream to come up with explanations next Tuesday through which Nigerians will know and plan their future. Otherwise, I think it is legally and morally wrong to keep silent about it, sweep it under the carpet and to continue to believe these things are usual,” he said.
In his remark, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over Thursday’s plenary, upheld Ningi’s prayers as he directed the petroleum committees to investigate the crisis and report its findings to the Senate on Tuesday.
“Ningi’s prayers are simple and straightforward. He is asking us as representatives of the people to direct our committees on upstream and downstream to find out what is currently going on the oil sector and possibly find a way of addressing it.
“In that regard, we now ask our committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream), to find out what is going on and what the government is doing about it and report back on Tuesday next week. That is our wish,” Ekweremadu said.