Senate Probes Oil, Gas Infrastructure Fund Boss’ Removal

Senate Probes Oil, Gas Infrastructure Fund Boss’ Removal

•Tinubu asks Upper Chamber to confirm Irukera’s disengagement

•Ex-FCCPC chief says commission needs to strengthen intelligence mechanism

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja and Ugo Aliogo in Lagos

President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, yesterday mandated the Committees on Gas and Petroleum Downstream to look into the circumstances that surrounded  the replacement of the Executive Director of the Midstream, Downstream, Gas Infrastructure Fund, (MDGIF), Mansur Kuliya.

The development followed the protest by the Senator representing Kano South Senatorial District, Sumaila Kawu on the floor of the red chamber during plenary.

Kawu had questioned the alleged  premature removal of the Kuliya as the substantive executive director of the oil and gas agency.

According to Kawu, the sacking of Kuliya as executive director of the agency was unlawful, as he was not allowed to complete his five-year term, which began in 2022.

His outburst was in response to President Bola Tinubu’s letter asking the Senate to confirm Oluwole Adama as new ED of the MDGIF yesterday at plenary.

After reading the letter, the President of the Senate, Akpabio, mandated the Committees on Gas and Petroleum Downstream to complete Adamu’s screening within one week.

Akpabio also urged the committees to look into Kawu’s claims and make recommendations to the Senate for further legislative action.

Meanwhile, Tinubu has written the Senate to confirm the disengagement of Babatunde Irukera as the executive vice chairman, chief executive officer of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).

Part of Tinubu’s letter read: “I hereby seek the kind confirmation of the Senate in respect of the disengagement from office of Babatunde Irukera as executive vice chairman, chief Executive officer of the FCCPC.

“While I hope that this Senate will consider this request expeditiously, please do accept, Distinguished Senate President and Distinguished senators the assurances of my highest regards.”

Meanwhile, the FCCPC chief, Irukera, has stated that there is need to strengthen intelligence gathering mechanisms to discover illicit products and their sources.

Irukera, who disclosed this yesterday in Lagos, during a welcome reception dinner organised by the Law School Class of 1990, urged the agency to follow through on the technology adoption to trace and track legitimate products, and continue to gather intel on illicit products.

He also stated that the agency was watching to see how they can monitor what the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) are doing in a bid to ensure that they  are introducing technology and mechanisms which would ensure that products are authenticated.

He remarked that the authentication of products prevents consumers from buying adulterated or substandard products, noting that as an agency, when they see fake products in the market, it allows them to know where to go find such products.

The former FCCPC CEO revealed that at the end of 2023, the agency had returned to the federal government N56 billion, noting that in 2024, they are ready to do ready even more.

“Today, my classmates in the law school class of 1990 and also alumna of the University of Ilorin, which are the platforms that I belong jointly decided to organise a reception to welcome me back from government after spending almost seven years being the chief executive of FCCPC.

“My stay at FCCPC was a very interesting time. First of all, I started the role in 2017, then as the Director General of the FCCPC and then in 2019, FCCPC transmuted, because there was a new law and that new law was the federal Consumer Protection Act of 2018.

“So, I was the first executive vice chairman. And so, my role was to transition the old consumer protection council to this new commission, and to add the new regulatory mandate for regulating competition in Nigeria.

“The things I am most proud of is the fact that at least consumers are far more aware of their rights and became a lot more active in questioning how they are treated or how products they received,” he said.

From a competition standpoint, he said he has become far more aware of the landscape and also of the limitations of the law with respect to what they can do.

“Merger notifications and businesses are getting together to fix prices or act unilaterally in a way that is not beneficial to consumers on the market, and businesses have become very aware of that.

“ I think we have an institution now that polices the market and the industry, to make sure that people do the right thing,” he added.

Related Articles