Senators disown committee’s report on oil theft probe

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The Senate on Wednesday refused to consider the report of its Adhoc Committee on Oil Lifting, Theft and the Impact on Petroleum Production and Oil Revenues as some members of the probe panel disowned the report presented by the chairman, Senator Akpan Bassey (YPP Akwa Ibom North East)

The upper legislative chamber had, on April 14, 2022, constituted a 13-member ad-hoc committee under the chairmanship of Senator Bassey, who, incidentally, is the chairman, the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream).

Seven months after the assignment, the committee presented its report for the senate’s consideration and adoption in plenary on Wednesday but ran into troubled waters.

First to make an observation on non-signing of the report was the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over plenary, by saying only six out of 13 members signed the report presented to him.

Omo-Agege’s observation triggered open confessions by some committee members who outrightly disowned the report.

Specifically, Senator Sani Musa (APC Niger East), openly told the Senate that the six signatures attached to the report were taken from the attendance list at the committee’s first sitting in April.

“Mr. President and Distinguished Colleagues, only three and not six members of the committee signed the report.

“As a member, I attended the first meeting along with five other senators whose signatures were attached to the report.

“After the first meeting, I was not invited for any other meeting and I did not attend any, making this report before us today, a very strange one to me,” he said.

Also disowning the report, another member of the Committee, Senator Kashim Shettima (APC Borno Central), said as a member of the committee, he was never invited to any meeting and cannot say anything on the report being presented to the Senate for consideration and approval.

Irked by the submissions, the Deputy Senate President called Senator George Sekibo as a committee member to give way out of the problem.

Sekibo suggested that the report should be withdrawn for consensus among committee members between now and Monday next week for re-presentation on Tuesday in plenary.

Omo-Agege consequently suggested voicing votes, with a majority of the Senators concurring with it.

Members of the committee as constituted in April were Senators Akpan Bassey (chairman), Yusuf A. Yusuf, Solomon Adeola, Kabiru Gaya, Mohammed Aliero, George Sekibo, Gabriel Suswam, Kashim Shettima, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Ali Ndume, Stella Oduah, Sani Musa and Ibrahim Gobir.