N5 trillion subsidy probe: Senate enraged as Adeosun, Emefiele, Ibas, Ali shun committee

Nigerian Senate has expressed displeasure over the disappearance of top government officials at the public hearing on the investigation of over N5 trillion subsidy payments to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) between 2006 and 2016.

Those who allegedly shun the Senate summon are the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele; the Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali; as well as the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ekwe Ibas.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Senator Kabir Marafa who represents Zamfara, at the Senate, expressed displeasure at the absence of the top government officials and therefore warned the affected to ensure they report at the committee hearing.

Marafa expressed the displeasure of the Committee before ordering Adeosun’s representative to leave the venue in spite of his explanation that the Minister could not attend because she was summoned to the Presidential Villa.

The Senator fumed: “Director? Not even the Permanent Secretary? So because she is called to the villa, she cannot come or send a Permanent Secretary?”

Marafa continued: “With due respect to your personality, I would reject your presentation.

“We want you to communicate to her, the displeasure of this Committee. This is an indication of disrespect to us; when the Minister of State of Petroleum Resources could not attend, he sent the Permanent Secretary.

“If somebody feels she cannot come and cannot send her Permanent Secretary, if she is bigger than this institution, let us know and let us flex our muscles together and see who is bigger.”

An apparently irritated Marafa went on to add that such acts were becoming habitual with the minister.

“This is quite unfortunate, I don’t know why people would behave in this way, this is the second time that she is doing this kind of thing and I hope she will not repeat it again,” he fired.

It was a similar story as the Chairman asked a Director from the CBN who was representing the Governor to leave the hearing, insisting that the Committee would only accept the Governor or a Deputy Governor.

The representative of the Comptroller General (CG) of the Nigerian Customs Service was also shown the door as Marafa noted that only a Deputy is qualified to represent the CG at such a hearing.

Meanwhile, the Committee voiced its “immense displeasure” and threatened sanctions as the Chief of Naval Staff failed to appear or send a representative to the hearing.