Senior oil workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have requested the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-graft agencies to probe the activities of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
The union said in Abuja that it was convinced that something was amiss at the agency, hence its request on the EFCC to investigate the operations of PPPRA
The PPPRA Branch Chairman of PENGASSAN, Mr. Victor Ononokpono made the call, while addressing journalists on the group’s decision to shut down the headquarters of the agency on account of its displeasure with government’s appointment of a new head for the agency.
“Apart from government making a pronouncement on who is the proper acting person, the second request from the union is that the anti-graft agencies should beam their searchlight because something is amiss here. What we are asking is doable,” Ononokpono said.
He alleged that the new appointee had already made suspicious approvals worth N3.4 billion for outstanding subsidy payments to oil marketers.
“It is the prerogative of the federal government to appoint chief executives into its agencies but there are two principal issues on ground here.
“The first being the seeming confusion on who is acting, the man who is acting has not yet handed over to the second person who has shown up, one Mrs. Iyoyo the General Manager in charge of HSE at the NNPC,” Ononokpono explained.
He further stated: “We are not deciding for government who it should name in acting capacity. Ours is why do you have to name two officials in acting capacity; we thought that if somebody is acting and you are bringing in another chief executive it should be in substantive role, that was not done.”
The second leg of the protest, he said, “is the union’s rejection of government having to select chief executives from operating and marketing companies to head PPPRA which is a regulatory company, it is unprofessional.”
“In the last ten years this has been the trend and it has impaired the activities of PPPRA in no little way. You cannot name an official of MTN to go and head NCC; you know where his loyalty will lie. Loyalty is 100 per cent to parent company,” Ononokpono noted.
While clarifying his claims of suspicious approval by the new acting head, Ononokpono said: “The haste is curious, I do not think it is the federal government, there are external forces other than the federal government because when the second executive secretary came in the haste, having not been handed over to by the man who was there, the haste with which she started treating files and even signed out payment of subsidy claims is alarming.
“Signing out Batch P of subsidy claims (outstanding/carry over) of N3.4 billion, was it a coincidence that it was the first file she reached out to?”