The Niger Delta Coalition (NDC) has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to immediately sack the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, over alleged misconduct and other malfeasance.
NDC, a conglomerate of 26 youth associations across the Niger Delta region, made this demand in a peaceful protest on Wednesday in Warri, Delta State.
The statement issued during the protest was signed by Mr Oris Bakpa, National Coordinator of the Niger Delta Youth Alliance; Bridget Oghenekohwo, National Chairwoman of Niger Delta Women for Change; Elvis Abebiyein, President of the Niger Delta Youth Empowerment Network; and Peter Okprgboro, Regional Coordinator of the South-South United Youth Association.
Hundreds of protesters stormed the entrance of the NNPC building at about 12:00 noon to register their grievances, accompanied by chants of solidarity songs.
The NNPC building located on Warri/Sapele Road is home to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).
The protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘Protect our Nation, President Tinubu sacks Mele Kyari’ among others.
Addressing the media, Bakpa urged President Tinubu to take immediate action, remove Kyari from office, and institute a comprehensive inquiry into his conduct.
Bakpa said that the agitation for the removal of the NNPCL’s boss was based on alleged financial impropriety, misuse of authority, lack of vision, poor performance, and autocratic conduct, among other reasons.
“Nigeria is blessed with abundant oil resources. However, a glaring deficiency within the NNPCL is the presence of dormant refineries scattered across the country.
“Regrettably, despite the staggering allocation of N100 billion for refinery rehabilitation in 2022, these facilities, with a combined production capacity of 445,000 bpd, have failed to produce any refined products for the past several years,” he said.
Bakpa lamented that the inability of the NNPCL to operate the moribund refineries had forced the nation to rely on the mindless importation of petroleum products, with the attendant consequences for the economy.
He said that the ripple effects of the over-reliance on the oil industry were visible in the nation’s inflation rates, which, according to him, had reached a staggering 25.80 per cent in August 2023.
“The implications of such high inflation figures are far-reaching, encompassing elevated costs of living, a discouraging business environment, and palpable instability in the nation’s overall economic well-being.
“Furthermore, the alleged irregularities in the awarding of oil production contracts have cast a shadow of opacity over remittance to the Federation Account, giving rise to grave concerns about transparency and accountability in these financial transactions.
“As a collective of concerned and dedicated Niger Delta people, we vow to uphold the law and employ peaceful demonstrations as a means to urge President Tinubu to remove Kyari from his position.
“And launch an investigation into the leadership and management of the NNPCL with a view to addressing the urgent issues of refinery rehabilitation,” he said.
Bakpa, however, noted that there was no increase in crude oil production or remittances to the Federation Account under the leadership of Kyari.
Responding, a senior staff member in the NMDPRA advised the protesters to take their case to Abuja, where it would be properly addressed, rather than disrupting activities at the NNPC building.