May 30, 2024

PIA: Senate Committee orders Total Energies MD to appear before them

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Adetayo Adewale Akintaro

The Senate Committee on Oil and Gas Host Communities has ordered the Managing Director of Total Energies, Mr. Matthieu Bouyer, to appear before it in his own interest.

The Committee stated that Bouyer has on several occasions in the past refused invitations to interface with it on the matters that have to do with the implementation challenges of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and the pressing need to address the grievances of host communities as well as the mode of operation of the oil company.

In a manner that smacks of a final notice of appearance to the MD contained in a statement released to journalists by the chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Benson Agadaga in Abuja on Monday, the Senate panel voiced out its frustration at Bouyer for refusing to honour an invitation, stating that it was against all democratic conventions and spirit of public service.

Frowning at the attitude of the MD, the lawmakers noted that it has become customary for some oil companies to delegate representatives rather than attending meetings with legislative panels in person.

He said that the issues at stake needed the physical appearance of the chief executives who are expected to speak for themselves and not through proxies.

The panel chairman also emphasised that oil and gas companies must ensure transparency, equity, well-being of their host communities.

The committee, however, advised the MD to reconsider his position and honour the invitation, stressing that failure to do so will worsen the lack of confidence from the public, which poses a significant threat to the collective advancement of the nation.

“The ramifications of this refusal extend far beyond the confines of bureaucratic indifference. It signals a dangerous precedent where those in the country’s vital oil and gas sector shirk their responsibilities with impunity. Such actions breed distrust and disillusionment among citizens who rightfully expect the companies to uphold the highest standards of governance and accountability.

“The Senate Committee calls upon the MD and indeed others in similar position to reconsider their stance and honor the invitation to appear before the committee. Failure to do so will only deepen public mistrust and fuel the flames of discontent that threaten to engulf our nation’s progress. Nigeria deserves better,” the statement added.

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