Fuel theft: NNPC should not just sack officials but restructure —Senate

THE Senate on Monday commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for responding to the motion moved during a plenary session by Senator Kabiru Marafa, Chairman, Committee on Petroleum Downstream Sector, on the theft of petroleum products kept in the farm tanks of two oil companies, urging the corporation to take more measures to avert recurrence.

Senate, which spoke through its spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, advised that NNPC should go beyond sacking and redeployment of a few officials but should initiate a comprehensive restructuring of its operations, which it said, allowed officials and other firms to appropriate national resources for their personal use, thereby contributing to the suffering of the people.

“The Senate is appalled that NNPC is not contemplating on doing something about the involvement of officials of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) which actually played key roles in the missing products case.

“It is instructive that NNPC did not do anything on the case until the matter was raised on the floor of the Senate and the press picked the matter up from the motion. The unauthorised sale of 132 million litres of fuel kept in the storage tanks of MRS and Capital Oil designated as strategic reserves is a grave occurrence.

“This probably is not the first time it is happening and NNPC must review its operations. It should in fact carry out a shake-up in the PPMC.”

It will be recalled that following the Senate debate of the motion on the theft of the fuel, the NNPC sacked two senior officials and redeployed a few others.

NNPC spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu, said the sack and deployment of the affected officials were in line with the ongoing reforms the corporation initiated to cleanse it of corruption.

The NNPC allegedly lost 130 million litres through a breach in its throughput transactions with MRS and Capital Oil.

However, MRS had returned the product it sold from the stock but Capital Oil is yet to refund the 82 million litres it sold. The missing fuel sold by Capital Oil is valued at N11 billion.

While Capital Oil insisted that NNPC owed it on past business transactions, the corporation vowed that it would recover the products, investigate the breach and set up new modalities to guide its engagements of throughput partners.