Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The House of Representatives has set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the processes of the award of Oil Prospecting Licences (OPL) and Oil Mining Licences (OML) to all the beneficiaries.
The House said the investigation is necessary as the processes have been discovered to be flawed, thereby shortchanging the country.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara, speaking when he inaugurated the ad hoc committee Thursday, said the House remains committed to its demand for accountability of national resources.
The committee is chaired by Hon. Gideon Gwani (Kaduna APC).
Dogara, who was represented by the Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor, added that it is necessary to determine whether due process was followed in the award of the OPL and OML.
“Our duty as a House is to make sure that the right is done is always. It is the responsibility of this Committee to find out how many companies follow due process as well as find out the modalities for the award,” Ogor said.
The Committee’s terms of reference include to ascertain the total number of OPLs and OMLs granted; ascertain their expiry dates, in addition to ascertaining whether due process and guidelines for the acquisition of Oil and gas assets were complied with.
Gwani, in his address expressed regret that the oil and gas sector continues to fall short of expectations despite efforts by successive governments to ensure its revitalisation. “Some unpatriotic and unscrupulous elements within the country with the active connivance of some desperate expatriates are undermining such efforts by flouting the due process and guidelines for acquisition of OPLs and OMLs.
This unhealthy development is a tragedy that must be stopped and perpetrators brought to book if we are to make the very sector attractive so as to compete favourably with the rest of the world,” he said.
Gwani added that the legislature cannot afford to fold its arms, especially with the dwindle in the price of crude oil and its attendant consequences on the country’s economy.