Senate OK’s NNPC plan, reprimands minister
ABUJA, March 11, 2016 – The Nigerian Senate will back the proposed restructuring of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), noting that the plan is within the original law governing the establishment of the entity, local media reported on Friday.
The decision follows the Thursday session of the Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources, which had called upon Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and NNPC group managing director Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu to explain in detail the reasoning for the restructuring.
While the senate decided to back Kachikwu, it did point out that the minister ought to have informed it beforehand. “I must apologise that we didn’t take some of the Senate leadership along the path of this restructuring,” Kachikwu said at the post-session press conference. The House of Representatives stuck to its opposition to the plans.
The bone of contention appears to have been the use of the world ‘unbundling’ to describe the restructuring of NNPC. Committee member Sola Adeyeye on Thursday pointed out that the description ran counter to sections of the law that founded the state entity.
Niger Delta community leaders on Friday also threw their weight behind the restructuring, placing further pressure on the unions opposing the plan – the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers – to reconsider their position. After consultations with Kachikwu on Thursday, the unions already suspended the countrywide strike that had been in effect since Wednesday, and which had crippled NNPC offices and facilities across the country.
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