Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) yesterday said it would summon the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to appear and explain the reason to the comatose state of the nation’s four refineries.
The Chairman of the House Committee, Hon Joseph Akinlaja, made the disclosure at the end of a meeting with the management of Matrix Energy Limited over the rampant distribution of adulterated kerosene, high pricing and constant incidences of explosion.
Akinlaja, who led a five-man committee on the visit, expressed sadness over the state of the nation’s oil sector, noting that it was a shame for an oil producing country like Nigeria to be importing refined oil products.
He, however, assured Nigerians that the House of Representatives would play its role in making life easier for them by summoning the minister to come out to tell the lower chamber of the National Assembly why the refineries are not working.
“It’s quite unfortunate that in Nigeria, infrastructure does not work, I think it should be of concern to everybody, not only lawmakers. We will make laws, but the implementation of the laws is also important. How can we have four refineries of 445,000 barrels capacity and we are still importing fuel, it’s a national shame, all of us have to be concerned.
“We’ll invite the minister and ask him because the last time we visited the refineries he told us certain things. We saw the old refinery and there was flame, which means it had started working, we are surprised that six months after, if has gone down again.
“When this refinery was established in 1978, the turnaround maintenance was done by Nigerians, suddenly the award of contracts has jeopardised this, rendering Nigerian engineers idle, receiving salaries for no work done. These are issues that the House will be looking into,” Akinlaja said.