July 13, 2024

Sack NNPCL CEO, Kyari, for sabotaging local refineries, 400 Nationalities Council tells Tinubu

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Ilenre Irele

A 407- ethnic- nationalities under the auspices of the Nigeria Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Council Worldwide has advised President Bola Tinubu to sack the CEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari for undermining efforts to repair indigenous refineries, thereby benefitting the oil subsidy cartel.

This call was made in a communiqué issued after their meeting in Abuja, on Tuesday, signed by various leaders, including Comrade Terry Obeih, President General, Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities Youth Leaders/NENYLCW, Alhaji Balarabe Rufai, President, Northern Youth Council/ Vice President, NENYLCW, Aare Oladotun Hassan Esq, President, Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide/ Secretary General, NENYLCW, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, National President, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide/ Publicity Secretary, NENYLCW, Comrade Emmanuel Zopmal.

Others are; President, Middle-Belt Youth Council/ Organising Secretary, NENYLCW and Alhaji Hamisu Dass, President, North-East Youth Assembly/Treasurer, NENYLCW.

They stated that Kyari’s leadership had hindered the progress of both government-owned and Dangote group-owned refineries, perpetuating the country’s reliance on fuel imports.

The youth leaders urged the government to take action against Kyari and address the nation’s refining capacity challenges.

The group threw his weight behind the Dangote Refinery, while condemning the actions of International Oil Companies (IOCs) that are hindering the refinery’s ability to purchase local crude oil.

Devakumar Edwin, VP of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited, had earlier raised concerns that IOCs were selling crude oil at inflated prices, forcing the refinery to import crude from distant countries like the US, resulting in higher costs.

The youth leaders deem this situation unacceptable, as the Dangote refinery was expected to reduce fuel costs for citizens.

In their meeting on June 25, 2024, they discussed the country’s economic situation and its impact on the masses, and are now calling for swift action to address the issue.

The youth leaders stated: “After a thorough analysis of the situation, it is our considered finding that the NNPCL is sabotaging the effort of the government towards making fuel affordable for Nigerians. There is a serious matter considering that Nigeria is operating a mono-economy, and as such whatever happens to fuel price, has a spiral effect.

“We want to start by recalling that earlier in March this year, the NNPCL CEO Mele Kyari, promised Nigerians that within two weeks, the Port Harcourt refinery would begin production.

“The CEO, who gave that assurance during his appearance before the Senate ad-hoc committee that was investigating the Nigerian Refineries’ Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) Projects, went as far as stating that more than 450,000 barrels of oil were stored at the Port Harcourt refinery.

“He said then that ‘We did a mechanical completion of the refinery; that was what we said in December. We now have crude oil already stocked in the refinery. We are doing regulatory compliance tests that must happen in every refinery before you start it, and I assure you that this Port Harcourt refinery will start in the next two weeks. Completing the mechanical work means that you are done with the rehabilitation work, now you have to test to see how it works. Of course, we have also completed the mechanical work on the Warri refinery.

“It is also undergoing regulatory compliance; processes that we are doing with our regulator, and this will soon be completed and it will be ready. Lastly, all the crude lines supplying crude to Port Harcourt and Warri are very active and we have delivered over 450, 000 barrels of oil into Port Harcourt refinery. We are confident of the integrity of it. There may be security issues, but the government is responding to that.’

“We then find it so strange that three months after that vague promise, there is no sign that the refinery would begin operation any time soon.

“To make the matters worse, just a few days ago, Mr Devakumar Edwin, the Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), accused International Oil Companies, IOCs, of frustrating the Dangote Refinery’s commencement of fuel supply by selling crude oil at higher prices.

“Edwin emphatically said that the IOCs were intentionally obstructing the refinery’s efforts to purchase local crude by inflating premium prices above market rates, compelling the refinery to import crude from distant countries like the United States, leading to significantly higher costs.”

They maintained that these allegations are not to be swept under the carpet; noting that they are both interconnected and have to be addressed by the Federal Government.

“The indices point that a certain cabal in the NNPCL has vowed never to allow local refinery of petroleum products in Nigeria, all in a bid to remain as the sole importer of the commodity and exploit Nigerians.

“We declare today that enough is enough; Nigerians have suffered enough, whereas a few people are feeding fat.

“The liberalisation of the petroleum industry was meant to be a blessing to the country but the reverse is the case, this is not to talk of the PIB which also talks of giving consideration to local refineries, but none of this is happening.”

The youth groups said since the NNPCL had shown lack of capacity to manage the industry, “the only honourable thing for Mela Kyari, the MD to do is to resign. However, should he fail to do so, we urge the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to sack him without further delay.

“Should Kyari fail to resign, the youths will not hesitate to mobilise for a national protest that will shut down the country if that is the only way to rescue Nigeria.

“It is clear that NNPCL under Kyari is bent on frustrating the President’s economic agenda, thereby worsening the suffering of the citizens and this is not good for the government.

“The NNPCL is clearly frustrating indigenous refining of fuel in order to continue importation, which is benefiting the subsidy cartel.

“The National Assembly led by Senator Godswill Akpabio should immediately within 7 days summon the courage to probe Mr Mele Kyari led NNPCL.

“We know that once we have our own local petroleum production refineries working at full capacity, where our local crude oil will be supplied directly to the aforementioned refineries either privately or government owned, the suffering of the masses will be alleviated.”

Mr. Olufemi Oladapo Soneye, the Chief Corporate Communications Officer. Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) while reacting to our inquiry said the allegations are basless and unfounded. He said “It is clear that the allegation of sabotaging efforts of local refineries is baseless and nonsensical. Before Mele Kyari assumed office, no refineries were operational. Under his leadership, the Port Harcourt refinery has been completed, the Warri refinery is near mechanical completion, and the Kaduna refinery will be operational next year. He has also supported modular refineries and facilitated the company’s purchase of shares in the Dangote refineries. These accomplishments hardly depict someone working against local refineries. Under Mele Kyari, we have achieved significant milestones regarding our refineries in Nigeria.

“At NNPC Ltd, we are not in the business of responding to people’s claim. Our priority is to lead the energy sector, not only in Nigeria but across the continent. We are committed to ensuring energy security for our nation”

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