By Ignatius Okorocha
The Senate Committee on Gas has decried stakeholders’ absence at an investigative meeting into an alleged $1billion Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline contract.
Its Chairman Senator Bassey Akpan, told journalists in Abuja at the weekend that the committee was compelled to adjourn the meeting for poor attendance by the key actors.
He said that the development was setback for the committee because it ought to submit its report before the National Assembly goes on its annual recess on July 26.
Akpan, who disclosed that the NNPC took permission from the committee, however, lamented that other stakeholders did not do while others sent representatives below the rank of managing directors, which was unacceptable.
He said: “We have been investigating the astronomical cost of completing two major gas pipelines, Northern Option Pipeline (NOPL) and the Obite-Ubeta-Rumugi (OUR) pipeline by Total Plc. We have been on this investigation for a couple of months.
“Only recently we had an on-the-spot assessment of the pipeline, about a 100-kilometre pipeline. A section of it is about 26 inch, another section is 22 inch and the 100-kilometre pipeline was completed at the cost of over $1billion.
“In view of this, the Senate mandated the committee to investigate the matter. The meeting was meant to communicate our findings and who we need to indict on the astronomical cost of completing this major pipeline but it did not hold. The NNPC was not there, NAPIMS was not there and the managing director of Total was not there.
“As you know, it is the tradition of the Senate not to attend to anyone below the rank of a Managing Director or Group Managing Director or Deputy Managing Director,” he said.
The lawmaker said that the meeting was adjourned till July 19, 2018 and urged those involved to be in attendance.
The Senate had in August last year mandated the committee to investigate the $1billion spent on the construction of OUR and NOPL.