ABUJA  – The Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream has summoned the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to appear before it tomorrow to defend its 2015 budget.
Also directed to appear with the corporation for the same purpose were its departments, companies and agencies for the same purpose.
Chairman of the committee, Sen. Magnus Abe, gave the order yesterday when the corporation failed to appear before the committee for a scheduled defence of its   2015 budget.
Abe, who expressed displeasure over NNPC’s behaviour, directed the Clerk of the committee to repeat the invitation to it and its departments.
He said that the committee would not tolerate further absenteeism for budget defence by any ministry, department or agency.
He recalled that NNPC had  failed to honour the first invitation to it by the committee.
“We invited NNPC to attend this session to brief us on budget; the corporation did not have the decency to acknowledge the letter.
“I am directing the clerk to re-issue another invitation to NNPC, to all the refineries, Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC).
“All of them must come individually and they must all bring their budget performance for last year and their budget for this year.
“Every year, we go through this whole problem of dancing around with NNPC because NNPC will never agree to voluntarily bring its budget up for discussion before this committee,” he said.
He decried that it had been the usual practice of the corporation to be elusive whenever it came to budget defence, in spite of a unanimous agreement on the issue reached in 2014.
“The committee will under no circumstances tolerate this kind of disrespect from NNPC; the Constitution is very clear and we all have our constitutional roles and responsibilities.
“Nobody in this country is above the Constitution; so, there should be a very strong warning to NNPC never to repeat this kind of behaviour to this committee,” he warned.
A member of the committee, Sen. Danjuma Goje (APC-Gombe Central), also deplored the absence of the NNPC and other agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
He said that the absence of the corporation at this time when some states of the federation were experiencing fuel scarcity was disheartening.
Goje added that the committee was legally empowered to monitor the activities and budget performance of the NNPC, and as such should not be disobeyed.