Okechukwu Nnodim


Twenty-four hours after the Federal Government replaced the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, it announced the sacking of all the eight executive directors of the corporation.President-Muhammadu-Buhari

This was confirmed by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr. Ohi Alegbe, in a statement on Wednesday night in Abuja.

Alegbe said in the statement, “The Federal Government has approved the retirement of all eight group executive directors of the NNPC with immediate effect.

“The affected group executive directors are Mr. Bernard Otti, GED, Finance and Accounts; Dr. Timothy Okon, acting GED, Exploration and Production, who also doubled as the Coordinator, Corporate Planning & Strategy; Mr. Adebayo Ibirogba, Engineering and Technology; Dr. David Ige, Gas and Power; Ms. Aisha Abdurrahman, Commercial and Investment; Dr. Dan Efebo, Corporate Services; Mr. Ian Udoh, Refining & Petrochemicals; and Dr. Attahiru Yusuf, Business Development.”

The statement noted that the new Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, personally conveyed the Federal Government’s decision to the GEDs.

He expressed gratitude to them for their services to the corporation and wished them success in their future endeavours.

No replacements were named, but our correspondent gathered that four new group executive director positions had been created and that some names were already being considered by President Muhammadu Buhari to fill them.

Sources at the corporation gave the new directorates as of Refining and Engineering, Exploration and Production, Commercial and Investment, and Finance.

Buhari had a week ago, pledged to fix the oil sector, rid the industry of rot and recover money stolen by operators in the sector.

On Tuesday, he relieved Dr. Joseph Dawha of his appointment as the GMD of the national oil firm, replacing him with Kachikwu, who until his appointment was the Executive Vice Chairman and General Counsel of Exxon-Mobil (Africa).

The President had in late June dissolved the NNPC board.

The Federal Government, through the NNPC, regulates and participates in the country’s petroleum industry.

The NNPC was established on April 1, 1977 as a merger of the Nigerian National Oil Corporation and the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel.

The law that created the firm permits it to manage the joint ventures between the Federal Government and some foreign multinational corporations, including Shell, Agip, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total.

Through the collaboration with the companies, the Federal Government conducts petroleum exploration and production.

But industry observers had on several occasions complained that the corporation lacked supervision, stressing that it had degenerated to a rent-collector for the government with less attention to transparency and accountability.

On Tuesday, the New York-based Natural Resources Governance Initiative canvassed the need to overhaul the management of the country’s oil sales process by the NNPC as top priority for the Buhari-led administration to stem waste and loss of billions of dollars in revenue.

The international watchdog said in one of its latest reports that the NNPC’s approach to oil sales was suffering from high corruption risks and had failed to maximise returns for the nation.

The authors of the NRGI report, led by Aaron Sayne, said, “We find that management of the NNPC’s oil sales has worsened in recent years, and particularly since 2010. The largest problems stem from the rising number of ad hoc, makeshift practices the corporation has introduced to work around its deeper structural problems.”

The NNPC receives about one million barrels of oil per day, or almost half of the country’s total production, part of which is sold to its subsidiary, Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, for the country’s refineries, while a larger volume is sold to traders.

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