Drama as lawmakers walk out representative of NIMASA DG at public hearing

• Decry Peterside, Kyari absence

A three day investigative hearing on the breach of Nigerian Laws by foreign vessel owners in the region and other related matters organised by the joint committee on local content, petroleum downstream and legislative compliance in the senate, suffered hitch on Tuesday.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dakuku Peterside and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mele Kyari were absent. Only the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Sarki Auwalu honoured the Committee’s invitation.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on local content, Teslim Folarin did not allow the leader of the NIMASA team to introduce himself before he was asked to explain his mission and on what capacity he was appearing before the panel.

The Committee which was silent on the absence of the GMD, NNPC, however, threatened to sanction the DG, NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, if he failed to honour the rescheduled meeting by appearing in person.

Senator Folarin who walked out the NIMASA team described the absence of Peterside as unfortunate.

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He said: “It is very unfortunate that men in the position of authority would flagrantly shun the invitation of the Senate. I spoke with Peterside about this event. He was supposed to come three weeks ago but he didn’t come.

“We rescheduled this event because of him. I called him and asked him to pick a date and he picked today, only for him to write the Clerk three days ago that the Senate Committee was coming to see him.

“This is an investigative hearing which supersedes any other engagement. We won’t sit here and be wasting our time. We will give him one more chance, just one chance. If he failed to honour the next invitation, we know what to do.”

His counterpart in the House of Representatives, Honourable Legor Idagbo, claimed the NIMASA DG deliberately ignored the Committee invitation.

He said: ” I think we should be ashamed of ourselves as Nigerians. A situation where invitations are sent out and all we get are excuses. I’m aware that Senator Folarin had a conversation with the DG of NIMASA and he picked this date.

“The DG went through his calendar and picked this date only for him to send representatives to us today. This committee’s invitation got first before that of the House but he chose to ignore us.

“What the DG of NIMASA should have done is to explain to the House Committee that he already had an invitation to an investigative hearing from this joint committee. He could even honour our invitation and still meet up with his appointment with the House committee.

” We cannot continue like this as a country. We sit down at the comfort of our offices and live largely. We copy what happens in other countries yet we failed to do what they do there. We fail to respect constituted authority.

“You people (NIMASA) should be ashamed of yourself. How do we move forward as a country if we continue like this? What engagement is more important than this type of investigative hearing. This type of attitude is unacceptable.”

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