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Senate Stops Port-Harcourt Refinery Concession, Orders Probe

By Dipo Olowookere

Federal Government has been asked to put a stop to the planned concession of the Port-Harcourt Refinery to Agip and Oando by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

The Senate, at its plenary on Tuesday, said though it was not against the concession, it was seriously not happy with the whole process.

Senator Sabo Mohammed, who moved a motion on this yesterday, alleged that the process was shrouded in secrecy, which contradicts the present administration’s agenda.

He said the bidding process should have been done openly.

He said it was “illegal and a clear attempt at ridiculing Nigerians and would definitely create a big hole that would be hard to fill in the anti-corruption crusade of the present administration,” querying “was there observance of the privatization law as regards due diligence, selection from preferred bidders before ceding the Port Harcourt refinery to Agip/Oando?”

Backing his motion, Senator Dino Melaye, commended the 8th Senate for blowing another whistle, stressing that “we must stop the act of corruption.”

After deliberations, the Senate asked the Federal Government to stop to the concession.

Thereafter, the Senate set-up an ad-hoc committee to carry out a holistic investigation to determine how and why such a deal was sealed and the criteria used to select Agip/ENI and Oando Plc to maintain and operate the Port Harcourt Refinery at what cost and timeframe.

Recall that at an event on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Managing Director of Oando Plc, Mr Adewale Tinubu, hinted that his firm was in the process of taking over the refinery to repair, operate and maintain it.

Days later, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Ibe Kachikwu, hinted that the Federal Government was in talks with the oil giants for the Port Harcourt Refinery take over.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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