Stakeholder Say NNPC Unbundling Illegal, Unconstitutional | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Stakeholder Say NNPC Unbundling Illegal, Unconstitutional

Posted: Mar 10, 2016 at 6:29 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

Kunle Ajayi, Lagos

The decision by the Federal Government to unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has attracted a serious backlash. Stakeholders said the decision violates and runs against the spirit of the constitution.

Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum and Group Managing Director of NNPC on Tuesday announced government’s decision to unbundle the state oil corporation.

Kachikwu announced that NNPC has been broken down into seven units namely: downstream, gas and power, refineries, venture, corporate planning and services, and finance and account, and that each unit would be headed by separate managing director in order to bring the corporation back to profitability that has eluded it over more than a decade.

Stakeholders believe that NNPC needs to be reformed for it to run effectively and make profit but that does not mean things should be done arbitrarily.

“Every reform no matter the benefit it may portend for the sector must be done within the ambit of the law. NNPC is a body that was established by an Act and anything that will alter it should be tabled, discussed and debated by the appropriate authority, the National Assembly,” a stakeholder said.

Jiti Ogunye, an activist and legal practitioner based in Lagos, told Independent on phone that “NNPC was not a body that was created by executive fiat. NNPC was created during the military era. It was at that time established by a decree and that decree later became an Act under the 1979 constitution and the subsequent 1999 constitution. So, if you then say that you are going to create seven bodies out of the NNPC and these bodies would be independent, the first thing you have to do, is not to act illegally by establishing those bodies and then sending an Act to parliament or a bill to National Assembly to say please just rubber stamp what I have done.”

“It has to do with legislation, you have to send your proposal to the National Assembly to debate it and discuss it as to whether indeed NNPC is to be broken to these seven bodies. Therefore, I have no hesitation in saying that what this government has done is unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional”, he noted.

In his own opinion, NNPC can run efficiently if the people managing it and government of the day want it to.

“The problem of NNPC strictly speaking is not a management issue. It is, in my own view, what people who are operating it and those who are in government at any particular time want NNPC to be. What Nigerians are complaining about NNPC is evident in all strata of our live, is evident in our universities, tertiary education has been run down, it is evident in our health care delivery system, is evident in the management of our roads that kill people everyday so when you want to deal with this issue, it is not just you want to unbundle it.

“It is like saying until you privatise university, it is when you allow private university to exist that is when our educational system will be functioning. I’m saying that it depends on those who are running it and government in place at every particular time what they want NNPC to be. NNPC has been used as a body to warehouse money for those who are in government. If that stops, NNPC would run profitably,’’ he assured.

Ogunye frowned at the situation only one man thinks he knows all or made so powerful to do what he likes. He asked whether this plan could be found anywhere in the world.

“You are creating and replicating bureaucracy. We are even complaining about allocating oil blocks to certain individuals and make them richer than the entire country. You are now taking this step. Who told you that is in the best interest of the Nigerian people and this promoting of an egalitarian society, that it will not further make certain Nigerians richer at the expense of ordinary Nigeria’’, he queried.