PENGASSAN wades into succession crisis in PPPRA, other agencies

The National leadership of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), on Wednesday, frowned at the manner in which sacked chief executives of regulatory agencies in the oil and gas industry handed over to their successors.

President Muhammadu Buhari had last week removed the Chief Executive officers of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF); Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB); Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF), and Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).

However, despite the Secretary to the Government of the Federation’s memo directing the former heads of the agencies to handover to the most senior officials in their respective organisations, PENGASSAN said most of them breached the presidential directive for ulterior motives.

The Acting General Secretary of PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa, expressed concern over the handling of the succession formalities at the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) where two acting Executive Secretaries currently hold sway.

“PENGASSAN is urgently calling on the Federal Government to respect its own directive with regards to the handing-over process and request all parties involved to revert to the status quo, pending the final resolution of the matter,” the PENGASSAN secretary stated.

He said due to the sensitive nature of the PPPRA’s functions and activities, the oil workers’ union was looking forward to a prompt resolution of the issue to stem the consequences of a prolonged industrial unrest.

“PENGASSAN as a responsible association will be open to dialogue and meaningful engagement in finding amicable resolution to this embarrassment,” Mr Okugbawa said.

On Monday, members of the PPPRA Branch of PENGASSAN staged a protest outside the headquarters of the agency in Abuja over alleged imposition of a new Executive Secretary, Stephanie Iyoyo.

Mrs. Iyoyo, a General Manager, HSE of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), was said to have arrived the PPPRA on Monday to resume office as the acting Executive Secretary barely four days after the former occupier of the office, Farouk Ahmed, had handed over to Moses Mbaba, the most senior official of the agency.

Mrs. Iyoyo did not respond to calls to her phone seeking her side of the story.

The chairman of the PPPRA chapter of PENGASSAN, Victor Ononokpono, said Mrs. Iyoyo’s arrival provoked a coordinated resistance by the protesting workers who said they would not accept any attempt to continue imposing NNPC officials on the agency

“We would not accept an arrangement where staff of the NNPÇ, which is the operator/marketing arm of the petroleum industry, would continue to be posted to manage the PPPRA, the regulating arm. This is unprofessional and detrimental to PPPRA’s role in the industry,” Mr. Ononokpono told the protesting workers.

While calling on the anti-graft agencies, namely the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and related crimes Commission (ICPC) to investigate the management of the immediate administration in the PPPRA, Mr. Ononokpono said government should clarify without further delay, who is in charge of the PPPRA.

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