Group Charges Tinubu To Sack NNPCL MD, Mele Kyari Over Crude Oil Controversy

A coalition of ethnic nationalities youth leaders in Nigeria has called for the immediate dismissal of Mele Kyari, the Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL).

The group alleges that the NNPCL under Kyari’s leadership has been sabotaging efforts to repair indigenous refineries and delaying the commencement of operations at the Dangote refinery.

According to Plateau News, the coalition accuses Kyari and the NNPCL of deliberately hindering progress that could alleviate the country’s reliance on imported refined petroleum products.

The youth leaders claim that such actions are detrimental to Nigeria’s economic stability and development.

They argue that efficient and operational refineries are crucial for the nation’s energy security and economic growth.

The call for the dismissal of Mele Kyari, Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), was issued by the Nigeria Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Council Worldwide (NENYLCW) after a meeting in Abuja. The communiqué was signed by several prominent leaders:

  • Comrade Terry Obeih, President General of the Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities Youth Leaders/NENYLCW
  • Alhaji Balarabe Rufai, President of the Northern Youth Congress/Vice President of NENYLCW
  • Aare Oladotun Hassan Esq, President of the Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide/Secretary General of NENYLCW
  • Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, National President of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide/Publicity Secretary of NENYLCW
  • Comrade Emmanuel Zopmal, President of the Middle-Belt Youth Council/Organizing Secretary of NENYLCW
  • Alhaji Hamisu Dass, President of the North-East Youth Assembly/Treasurer of NENYLCW

The group’s demand stems from complaints made by Devakumar Edwin, Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), who accused International Oil Companies (IOCs) of inflating crude oil prices and forcing the Dangote Refinery to import crude at higher costs from distant countries like the United States. This issue has thwarted expectations of the Dangote refinery lowering fuel costs.

The youth leaders expressed their frustration over the NNPCL’s perceived sabotage of government efforts to make fuel affordable.

They recalled that Mele Kyari had assured in March that the Port Harcourt refinery would begin production within two weeks after mechanical completion and the storage of over 450,000 barrels of crude oil.

He also mentioned the completion of mechanical work on the Warri refinery. However, three months later, there is still no sign of these refineries beginning operations.

The group found it concerning that a cabal within the NNPCL was allegedly determined to prevent local refinery operations to maintain control over fuel imports.

They demanded that Kyari resign or be dismissed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. They threatened to mobilize a national protest to shut down the country if necessary to address the situation.

The youth leaders also urged the National Assembly, led by Senator Godswill Akpabio, to probe the NNPCL under Kyari’s leadership.

They emphasized that local petroleum production would alleviate the suffering of the masses and supported President Tinubu’s economic agenda.

The group wrote, “We met today, Tuesday, the 25th day of June, 2024 and reviewed the economic situation in the country as it affects the common masses.

“After a thorough analysis of the situation, it is our considered finding that the NNPCL is sabotaging the effort of the government towards making fuel affordable for Nigerians.

“There is a serious matter considering that Nigeria is operating a mono-economy, and as such whatever happens to fuel price, has a spiral effect.

“We want to start by recalling that earlier in March this year, the NNPCL MD, Mele Kyayi, promised Nigerians that within two weeks, the Port Harcourt refinery would begin production.

“The MD, who gave that assurance during his appearance before the Senate ad-hoc committee that was investigating the Nigerian Refineries’ Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) Projects, went as far as stating that more than 450,000 barrels of oil were stored at the Port Harcourt refinery.

“He said then that ‘We did a mechanical completion of the refinery; that was what we said in December. We now have crude oil already stocked in the refinery. We are doing regulatory compliance tests that must happen in every refinery before you start it, and I assure you that this Port Harcourt refinery will start in the next two weeks.’

“Kyari went further to say that, ‘Completing the mechanical work means that you are done with the rehabilitation work, now you have to test to see how it works. Of course, we have also completed the mechanical work on the Warri refinery. It is also undergoing regulatory compliance; processes that we are doing with our regulator, and this will soon be completed and it will be ready.

“Lastly, all the crude lines supplying crude to Port Harcourt and Warri are very active and we have delivered over 450, 000 barrels of oil into Port Harcourt refinery. We are confident of the integrity of it. There may be security issues, but the government is responding to that.’

“We, therefore, find it so strange that three months after that vague promise, there is no sign that the refinery will begin operation any time soon.

“To make the matters worse, just a few days ago, Mr Devakumar Edwin, the Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), accused International Oil Companies, IOCs, of frustrating the Dangote Refinery’s commencement of fuel supply by selling crude oil at higher prices.

“Edwin emphatically said that the IOCs were intentionally obstructing the refinery’s efforts to purchase local crude by inflating premium prices above market rates, compelling the refinery to import crude from distant countries like the United States, leading to significantly higher costs.

“These are not matters to be swept under the carpet; they are both interconnected and have to be addressed by the Federal Government.

“The indices point that a certain cabal in the NNPCL has vowed never to allow local refinery of petroleum products in Nigeria, all in a bid to remain as the sole importer of the commodity and exploit Nigerians.

“We declare today that enough is enough; Nigerians have suffered enough, whereas a few people are feeding fat.

“The liberalization of the petroleum industry was meant to be a blessing to the country but the reverse is the case, this is not to talk of the Petroleum Industry Act which also talks of giving consideration to local refineries, but none of this is happening.

“Since the NNPCL had shown lack of capacity to manage the industry, the only honourable thing for Mela Kyari, the MD to do is to resign. However, should he fail to do so, we urge the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to sack him without further delay.

“Should Kyari fail to resign, the youths will not hesitate to mobilize for a national protest that will shut down the country if that is the only way to rescue Nigeria.

“It is clear that NNPCL under Kyari is bent on frustrating the President’s economic agenda, thereby worsening the suffering of the citizens and this is not good for the government.

“The National Assembly led by Senator Godswill Akpabio should immediately summon the courage to probe Mr Mele Kyari led NNPCL.

“We know that once we have our own local petroleum production refineries working at full capacity, where our local crude oil will be supplied directly to the aforementioned refineries either privately or government-owned, the suffering of the masses will be alleviated.

“As we reaffirm our support for Mr President, it is our hope that he will take this bold action in the interest of the country.”