By Jonathan Lois
The House of Representatives has asked the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to immediately stop issuing licenses to oil serving companies for importation of explosives.
Chairman of the House Committee on soil mineral Development, Hon. Micheal Enyong Okon in a ruling after an investigative hearing of the Committee probing the licensing and sale of explosive devices by chief executives of some oil servicing companies in Nigeria gave the directives.
He said that the committee hearing was on general compliance of these companies to the permits, licensing and sale of explosive devices to end users in compliance to Explosives Act 2013.
Okon said that the companies were not complying to the extant laws.
The chairman met with AOS Orwell limited and Halliburton Limited said they were flouting the laws and permits on their sale of explosives.
The committee said that the companies were importing more than authorised, fearing that the explosives could get into the hand of terrorists who may use it against the country.
Okon said: “With the prevailing security situation in our country, there is a need to ascertain the adherence of these companies to extant statutes and regulations on explosives control vis-a-vis the administration and utilization generally.
It is important that we educate them on the need to ensure that the administration and utilization of explosives is in accordance with the Explosives Act of 1967 as contained in the laws of Nigeria.
“The permit is issued by the Ministry of Mines and Steel and the end users certificate is also issued by the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA.
“The end user certificate will also show the items you brought into the country. You can have less of these products. It is not a problem but when you have more than what was authorized, what you were allowed in the permit, it therefore means that you are importing these explosives illegally into the country and so, it is worrisome, especially in the prevailing security situation in the country.
“And so, we want to know the whereabouts of these explosives. We want to make sure these particular items do not end up in the wrong hands. It can be terrorists, aliens. That’s why we are here to make sure there is a corresponding inventory from the end users.”
Other companies expected to appear before the committee next week included Baker Hughes, Sterling Oil, Drilling Technologies and Schlumberger.