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Party differences overshadow kerosene subsidy probe

Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were dissatisfied with the insistence of the committee chairman, Rep Dakuku Peterside (APC, Rivers) that the director general…

Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were dissatisfied with the insistence of the committee chairman, Rep Dakuku Peterside (APC, Rivers) that the director general must ascertain the legality of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) deduction of kerosene subsidy payments at source before remittance to the Consolidated Revenue Account of the federation.
The PDP members in the committee (Rep Sunday Karimi (PDP, Kogi) and Rep Raphael Nnanna (PDP, Imo)) challenged the chairman accusing him of pursuing a “private enterprise”.
Rep Nnanna protested the handling of the DG, saying “if your ruling is biased, we will challenge the ruling. This is not a private enterprise. Let the NNPC answer questions relating to its operations. But you cannot hold the DG budget responsible for the NNPC operation.”
Rep Karimi also backed his PDP colleague, asking “DG, do you have the competence and authority to speak for the NNPC or CBN?”
Expectedly, Okogwu replied that he did not possess such powers or rights.
Amidst this confusion, Rep Bala Yusuf (APC, Kaduna) attempted to separate the political dimension of the investigation.
“Let us not downplay the significance of this gathering by arguing along party lines because this is an issue of serious national importance,” he cautioned.
Committee chairman, Rep Peterside pleaded with members to be calm in the face of the disagreement, pointing out that “from time to time, we have our misunderstanding. We are before the public; let us respect ourselves as gentlemen.”
The budget office boss then told the committee that his office has not been making any appropriation for kerosene subsidy since 2010.
The committee blamed NNPC for diverting oil revenue to fund kerosene subsidy, which they said contravened Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) on remittances to the country’s consolidated revenue account.

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