President Bola Tinubu, on Monday, asked the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to immediately get to work, warning that non-performance would not be tolerated.
Tinubu also warned that conducts suggesting a sense of entitlement would not be tolerated, and that the Board could be dissolved without prior notice to members over non-performance.
“But you could be suddenly dissolved if there is no sustained excellence in performance,” Tinubu said when he inaugurated the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited at the State House, Abuja.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, revealed this in a statement he signed Monday titled President Tinubu to NNPCL Board: non-performance will not be tolerated.’
President Tinubu promised to optimise Nigeria’s security architecture to improve the performance of the board.
“The challenge is corporate governance. Yes, we will improve the security situation. We are working very hard.
“Sincerely, the Chief Executive Office, Kyari, is doing very well, and doing all that I know.
“It is my honour to inaugurate this Board, which has people of great integrity. I am honoured that we are doing this. I recognise all of you,’’ he said.
President Tinubu said the board must prioritise corporate social responsibility for the Niger Delta people, considering the devastating effects of oil exploration and exploitation on the environment.
He reasoned that, “Niger Delta must be seen as the goose that lays the golden egg, and we must treat that region with the deserved respect and care.
“It is not asking for too much to ensure quality and constant water supply, schools, medical facilities, and roads. It is not about us. It is about the well-being of the entire country and the lifeblood of the nation.
“We should care more about the environment. We will do more for security to minimize stealing and vandalization,’’ he stated.
The President directed that more attention should be given to gas as Nigeria transitions to cleaner energy, saying, “We need to show that we are committed to the welfare of our country.”
He added, “Take a look at the Petroleum Industry Act, and know what the pitfalls are. The Cabinet members and Board should decide what we can do differently for production increase, profitability, and governance. It is in your hands. I will work with you.”
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Board, Pius Akinyelure, commended the President for the removal of petrol subsidy, noting that the nation would have drowned in debt, but for his decisiveness.
“Our focus is to increase production. We must address the problem of stealing and pipeline vandalisation in the Niger Delta. We are aware of the efforts in the past, but we will do more,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the NNPCL expressed plans to produce two million barrels of crude oil per day in 2024.
It said this would significantly boost the 1.67 million barrels of oil and condensates currently produced daily and enable Nigeria to meet the two million bpd target set by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
“Our commitment is to produce at a rate of two million barrels per day, anytime from next year,” Chairperson of the NNPCL Board, Mr Pius Akinyelure, told State House Correspondents after President Bola Tinubu inaugurated the board.
However, Akinyelure admitted that meeting such a target would require overhauling Nigeria’s security architecture to address pipeline vandalism and other mechanisms deployed in oil theft.
“It is not an easy task, but we know we have the challenge of oil stealing, the vandalisation of our pipelines.
“But to do this, we have to overhaul our security architecture so that the incidences of stealing vandalisation of pipelines can be reduced.
“And this will possibly help to build up our cash flow. And we will become a better nation,” he explained.
Nigeria’s oil theft has plagued the country for decades, leading to significant economic losses and environmental degradation.
In 2022, Nigeria lost at least $2bn to oil theft, an inquiry by the Senate revealed in November of that year.
The Senate’s findings revealed that only 66 per cent of the country’s oil production could be “effectively guaranteed”.
It said the other 33 per cent was affected by theft and lost production “due to the third-party easy access on land terrain.”
A month after the Senate’s findings, then-National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.) projected that the Federal Government may lose $23bn in 2023 if crude oil theft festers.
But speaking on Monday, Akinyelure said the board’s goal is “To make sure that the key performance indicators of the oil industry in Nigeria” so that “we’ll become number one in Africa and probably competing with leading oil and gas companies around the world.”
Afterward, the only female member on the board, Dr. Eunice Thomas (Akwa Ibom), told The PUNCH that the board has its eyes set on transiting Nigeria from fossil fuels to greener forms of energy.
Thomas said, “We will provide power for the people of Nigeria; we will industrialise the energy and transit from fossil fuel to more sustainable green energy.”
On the board’s inauguration, she said, “I am really challenged. But I would like to begin by thanking President Bola Tinubu for finding me worthy to sit on that board.
“I am aware of the challenges and his expectations of the board. I agree with the management of the NNPCL, they’ve done quite a lot so far and we will be working together with pleasure to increase productivity, improve the economy and sustain the environment.”
The board members inaugurated on Monday include Umar Ajiya as Chief Financial Officer, Ledum Mitee, Mr. Musa Tumsa and Mr. Ghali Muhammad as Non-Executive Directors.
Other Non-Executive Directors are Prof. Mustapha Aliyu, Mr. David Ogbodo and Ms. Eunice Thomas.