Politicians and civil servants who hitherto had served at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had better brace up as President Muhammadu Buhari vows that the prosecution of such officers involved in the fleecing the corporation in the past would soon commence. The president announced this just as he appointed himself with the Minister of Petroleum. Today is the deadline the president gave himself to announce his cabinet.
President Buhari made this disclosure while addressing select journalists yesterday in New York. He however promised to appoint a Minister of State for the all important ministry. According to him, this step is being taken as part of efforts to sanitise Nigeria’s oil industry, which is said to be plagued by corruption, massive fraud, and crude oil theft. He restated his determination to sanitise Nigeria’s oil industry and free it from corruption and shady deals.
He said that the first step in this direction had already been taken with the appointment of a new management for the NNPC and its subsequent reorganisation. The President said the prosecution of those who misappropriated NNPC’s revenue under past administrations would soon commence. On Corruption, he pledged that the federal government will fight corruption, because it has been identified as the root of all problems hindering Nigeria as a nation.
This is not the first time a president will add the petroleum portfolio to his job. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, for most part of his tenure, was also the Minister of Petroleum.
Since Wednesday is the last day of the month, the President is widely expected to forward names of his minister to the National Assembly today. Names forwarded to the National Assembly would be screened and approved by the Senate before they are sworn in. Already, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has indicated that the screening of the ministers would be thorough and comprehensive.
Mr. Saraki gave the hint while welcoming senators to plenary in Abuja after a long recess. He said that screening of the nominees would be in-depth to ensure that only competent and qualified individuals only occupied the positions. “As we await the list of ministerial nominees this week, we are prepared to treat the screening with dispatch but with thoroughness. I believe the presence of ministers will create the space for greater policy engagement with the executive arm of government”, the Senator Saraki said.