Buhari Dissolves NNPC Board
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday wielded the big stick on the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as he ordered the dissolution of its Board of Directors with immediate effect.
The dissolution was contained in a letter to the Board signed by Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Danladi Kifasi.
In the letter, the President thanked members of the dissolved board for their services to the nation.
Members of the Board included the Group Managing Director, Joseph T. Dawha; Group Executive Director, Finance and Accounts, Bernard O.N. Otti; Group Executive Director, Corporate Services, Dan Efebo.
Others were Alhaji Abdullahi Bukar; Danladi Wadzani; Prof Olusegun Okunnu; Danladi Kifasi; Steven Oronsaye; and the Coordinator, Legal Services/Secretary to the Corporation, Ikechukwu Oguine.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources statutorily heads the Board.
The development renewed anxiety in the petroleum sector, as many more heads are expected to roll in the next few weeks.
A source at the NNPC told The Guardian on condition of anonymity that uneasy calm had enveloped the NNPC Towers headquarters of the corporation immediately the news broke.
The corporation had come under scrutiny in late 2013 after the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), now Emir of Kano, Lamido Muhammadu Sanusi, alleged that it had not remitted $20 billion made from the sale of crude oil to the Federation Account between 2012 and 2013.
Sanusi had told the Senate Committee probing the allegation of unremitted funds that the NNPC shipped $67billion in crude and only $47 billion had come back to the Federation.
He insisted that the NNPC had to prove where the $20billion was. But the corporation at the time dismissed the allegation as baseless.
There was further controversy over the report of PriceWaterHouse Coopers (PWC), which was hired to undertake a forensic audit report of the corporation. Many believed the report indicted the corporation, but its Group Managing Director insisted otherwise.
During his campaigns, President Buhari had reiterated his commitment to sanitising the NNPC and blocking fund leakages in the corporation. He had in April, while receiving delegates from Adamawa State, assured that his administration would revisit the alleged missing $20 billion, saying: “$20 billion is too huge a sum to ignore and must be investigated.”
Reacting to the development, former president of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Mr. Peter Esele, told The Guardian yesterday that the dissolution was normal and in order, because the body hardly met.
“In last two years, they have just met once, because their meeting is at the whims and caprices of the Minister of Petroleum. Members of the Board were invariably redundant for years.
“Normally, the Board is supposed to be meet quarterly and could convene emergency meeting, if the need arises. But that was not the case with NNPC Board in the last four years.
“I believe the incoming Minister of Petroleum will make the next Board to function maximally and effectively for the benefit of Nigerians,” Esele said.