27 June 2012

Nigeria: As Jonathan Fires Oniwon, Others - Yakubu Takes Over As New NNPC GMD

Photo: Elaine Gilligan/Friends of the Earth
Traffic scene in Port Harcourt with Shell barrels.

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday removed Engr. Austen Oniwon as the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and ordered the re-composition of the corporation's executive management team.

The president has also appointed Engr. Andrew Yakubu as the new GMD of NNPC, even as he approved the appointment of Engr. Victor Briggs as the new managing director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).

Also relieved of their positions as group executive directors and sent to proceed on retirement are Mr. Michael Arokodare (finance and accounts), Mr. Philip Chukwu (refineries and petrochemicals), and Engr. Billy Agha (engineering & technology).

They were immediately replaced with Mr. Bernard O.N. Otti, group executive director (finance and accounts); Engr. Abiye Membere, group executive director (exploration and production); Dr. Peter S. Nmadu, group executive director (corporate services); Engr. Anthony Ogbuigwe, group executive director (refineries and petrochemicals); Dr. Attahir B. Yusuf, group executive director (commercial and investments) and Dr. David Ige, group executive director (gas and power).

A statement by presidential spokesman Dr. Reuben Abati noted that the president took the action "to further strengthen the ongoing reforms and transformation of Nigeria's petroleum sector, and in furtherance of efforts to achieve greater transparency and accountability in government."

"President Jonathan commends the outgoing directors for their service to the nation and urges the new management team to be fully committed to rapidly implementing the critical interventions needed to positively transform Nigeria's petroleum industry," Abati noted.

The incoming GMD, Engr. Andrew Yakubu, graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1979 with a degree in Chemical Engineering. He joined the NNPC in 1980. Positions he has held in the corporation include managing director of the Warri Refining and Petrochemicals Company and group executive director (exploration and production). Engr. Yakubu is an indigene of Kaduna State and a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.

Subsidy probe: Again, Senate summons Okonjo-Iweala

Meanwhile, the Senate has again asked the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to appear before it to answer to respond to some other issues that cropped up in the course of the probe management of fuel subsidy fund.

That latest invitation, which is the second in a month, includes an expanded list among who are former heads of federal government agencies.

Others summoned are the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Mr. Reginald Stanley, Managing Director of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and at least three former PPPRA Executive Secretaries.

They are: Dr. Olusola Oluleye; Mr. Abiodun Ibikunle; and Engr. Goddy Egbuji.

Also invited are the Chief Executive Officers of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah, Oando Nigeria Plc, Mr. Wale Tinubu and Folawiyo Energy. In the list of invitees are Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association (DAPPMA).

In a signed statement from the Senate Joint Committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Appropriation and Finance on Tuesday, all the invited stakeholders are expected to appear before the committee between Monday, July 2 and Tuesday, July 3.

Senate is presently on a week-long retreat in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

A member of the panel said next week's interaction with government officials and private sector operators is expected to be the last public meeting after which the committee is to submit its report to the Senate.

The committee had earlier postponed a scheduled meeting of stakeholders in the oil sector due to the Dana air crash in Iju-Ishaga, Lagos on June 3.

The Senate probe emanated from a resolution in November last year based on a motion by Senator Bukola Saraki who raised the alarm on government's extra-budgetary spending on fuel subsidy in 2011.

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