Protest Rocks South West As Yoruba Youths, CSOs, Others Demand Immediate Sack, Probe NNPCL’s GCEO Mele Kyari
Protesting Yoruba youths, civil society organisations (CSOs) non governmental organisation (NGOs), under the aegis of the Yoruba Youth Network (YYN), the South West Blossom Brigade (SBB), the Odua Youth Frontiers, the Yoruba Youth Empowerment Forum (YYEF) And fourteen other youth organizations and CSOs in a Mega Coalition Movement, are demanding the immediate sack of Mele Kyari as Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and deep interrogation of allegations of monumental corruption entrenched in the NNPCL under his leadership.
At their rally and press conference in Lagos, South West of Nigeria on Thursday, the groups listed numerous cases of financial impropriety against Kyari, including fuel subsidy scams, under-remittance of oil sales revenue, corruption, shady pipeline surveillance contracts, and oil theft.
The Mega Coalition Movement said that they are deeply concerned about the instability of the prices of petroleum products resulting from the somersault in policies on.
Address the media, Olukayode James of the Yoruba Youth Network (YYN) and Oluwaseun Jesugbaiye of the South West Blossom Brigade (SBB) as well as Olayinka Oshinowo of Odua Youth Frontiers (OYF) and Femi Ayebiele of the Yoruba Youth Empowerment Forum (YYEF), said that “among the numerous cases of financial impropriety against Kyari is the deduction of N2.1 trillion from the monthly revenue of NNPC, which was not remitted to the Federation Account.
“Additionally, Kyari is believed to be responsible for the supply of adulterated or bad fuel that entered the country in 2022, causing damage to many vehicle engines and generators.
“These allegations of massive corruption and fraudulent diversion of billions of dollars to personal and cronies’ accounts must be thoroughly investigated, and Kyari should be prosecuted if found”, they said.
On the due process and transparency in Kyari’s appointment, the protesters said “We would like to highlight that the appointment of Engr Mele Kyari as GCEO of NNPCL did not follow due process as enshrined in the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
“Considering that NNPCL recently transitioned to a private company in line with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA Act, 2021), it is no longer allowed to have recourse to state funds.
“Its shares and assets, including oil blocks and refineries, are now held by the Ministries of Petroleum and Finance. However, NNPCL has failed to operate as a Joint Production Venture (JPV) with Western Oil Majors (WOM), as required by law.
“Furthermore, the NNPCL has not been transparent in publishing its crude oil contracts and statements of accounts under Engr Mele Kyari’s leadership.
“Lack of Remittances to the Federation Account
In 2022, Kyari and the NNPC management failed to remit any funds to the Federation Account for seven consecutive months.
“Despite Nigeria recording N16 trillion in oil sales during that year, the NNPC did not make any remittances. This lack of financial responsibility is unacceptable and raises serious questions about the management of the company’s revenues.
“Kyari must explain how these funds were spent and provide transparency regarding the companies that received subsidy payments”, the protesters said.
On matters regarding restoration, transparency and accountability in the Federal Government owned oil company, “As concerned and patriotic citizens, we believe that the government should be interested in knowing the true nature of NNPCL’s oil production contracts and remittances to the Federation Account, as well as the transparency of pipeline surveillance contracts awarded by the NNPCL in line with global best practices.
“We had expected the President Tinubu administration to insist on the implementation of the PIA or the PIB Act, not only to sack and probe Engr Mele Kyari but also other key figures in the NNPCL, such as the Executive Vice President (Upstream), Adokiye Tombomieye, Managing Director Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Ali Muhammed Zahra, and the Managing Director National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NPIMS), Bala Wunti.
“This comprehensive action is necessary to clean up the corruption and decay within the NNPCL”, the groups.
Speaking on inconsistencies in government actions, the protesters said that “It is unfortunate that Engr Mele Kyari, who allegedly shortchanged every Nigerian through under-remittance to the Federation Account, has been allowed to remain in charge of the NNPCL, while heads of other important departments and agencies, such as the CBN and EFCC, have been sacked, arrested, and probed.
“This raises the question of why the case of the NNPCL led by Engr Mele Kyari is being treated differently. If the government is genuinely committed to fighting financial malfeasance, oil theft, dubious pipeline surveillance contracts, fuel subsidy scams, under-remittance to the Federation Account, abnormalities, and lack of transparency in the NNPCL, then Engr Mele Kyari should not be allowed to continue in his position.
On their demand for the removal of Kyari as the NNPCL GCEO, the protesting South West groups insisted that “It is evident to most Nigerians that there has been no significant increase in oil production and remittance to the Federation Account since Engr Mele Kyari assumed the position of GCEO of the NNPCL.
“Therefore, we urge President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to take action and fire and probe Engr Mele Kyari.
“This is crucial for the transparency, accountability, and development of the Nigerian petroleum industry.
Given the numerous allegations of financial improprieties and the lack of accountability within the NNPC under Kyari’s leadership, it is imperative that he be removed from his position.
“The Federal Government must take immediate action to address these issues and ensure that those responsible for corruption and embezzlement are held accountable.
“The Nigerian people deserve transparency, accountability, and a leadership that prioritizes the country’s economic stability and the well-being of its citizens.
“It is crucial to address these allegations, conduct a thorough investigation, and prosecute those responsible for corruption and fraudulent practices.
“Restoring transparency, accountability, and financial stability within the NNPC is essential for the well-being of the Nigerian economy and its citizens”, the protesters said.