Except Buhari, Other Nigerian Leaders Interfered in NNPC Operations, Says Kyari – THISDAY Newspapers
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
After working with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for roughly three decades, the Group Managing Director of the national oil company, Mallam Mele Kyari, has disclosed that aside from President Muhammadu Buhari, other Nigerian political leaders in the past interfered in the corporation’s operations.
Speaking at the 17th All Nigerian Editors’ Conference which was held in Abuja, where he was Special Guest of Honour, Kyari described the development as historic, stressing that it was the first time the corporation was being allowed to operate professionally.
Buhari was Nigeria’s Military Head of State between 1983 and 1985 and was Minister of Petroleum in the late 70s, a position he currently retains even as civilian president. The NNPC was established in 1977, about 44 years ago.
A statement by Spokesman of the corporation, Mr. Garba Muhammad, indicated that Kyari spoke at the event which held at the NAF Conference Centre organised by the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE) themed: ‘Media in Times of Crisis: Resolving Conflicts, Achieving Consensus’.
On the NNPC’s refineries and the role they play in ensuring energy security for the country, the GMD said the NNPC management under his leadership was keen on changing the narrative and getting the refineries back on stream.
According to him, this will be made easier by taking advantage of the “free-hand” given to the management by the president to “do the right thing”.
“This is the first time in history that NNPC and its subsidiaries are allowed to do things the way things should be done. Now, I can confirm to you that we have taken responsibility and we will fix the refineries.
“We have started the process, contractors have been mobilised to the Port Harcourt refinery; while the same process for Warri and Kaduna refineries will conclude by the end of this year,” he declared.
On the menace of crude oil and products theft, the NNPC CEO said much progress had been made through collaboration with security agencies and called for the support of the editors and other stakeholders towards reducing insecurity within the oil and gas industry.
On the issue of energy transition, ahead of the commencement of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland next week, the GMD advocated the consideration of what he described as “energy justice” in the implementation of the transition.
Discussions on countries transitioning to less carbon-intensive energy sources have been gaining momentum in the last few years, with global leaders calling for a shift away from fossil fuels as a critical action towards tackling the climate crisis.
Kyari argued that wholesale execution of energy transition without regard to the peculiar socio-economic conditions of various countries would cause dislocations that could exacerbate security challenges in developing nations.
Speaking on: ‘Insecurity as it Affects the Oil and Gas Sector’, the NNPC boss maintained that his concept of energy justice was to allow each country, especially developing nations, to progress at their own pace while leveraging on their hydrocarbon resources for smooth transition to Net Zero by 2050.
“Talking about energy transition, it is my very well-considered view that there must be energy justice, which means that countries should develop at their own pace while taking into consideration the realities that they face,” Kyari stated.
According to him, individual nations should be allowed to transit on the basis of their contributions to carbon emission to the point that ultimately, there will be justice for all by 2050.
“Energy justice would ensure that as we transit, we are allowed to develop at a pace and in a manner that is just,” Kyari added.
Kyari also urged the media industry and other stakeholders to champion the cause of energy justice in the global quest for cleaner energy, stressing that gas development remained the only option for Nigeria to achieve energy transition.
Earlier in his welcome address, the President of the NGE, Mr. Mustapha Isah, said the purpose of the conference was to find solutions to the various security challenges facing the country.
Isah also called on all stakeholders to rise up to the insecurity challenge by giving their best in defence of the nation.