Lukman Summoned by Petroleum Committee Over License Dispute

Rilwanu Lukman, the presidential petroleum advisor has been summoned to appear before the Nigerian House of Representative Committee on Petroleum in connection with the dispute over ownership of the OPL 245. Also summoned were businessman, Otunba Johnson Fasawe, Messrs. Gabriel Volpi, Perricci, Dr. Baggi, all of Intels Oil Services and Simeoni Gregori, former Managing Director of Texaco Nigeria. The hearing is scheduled for February 19th.

Chairman of the committee, Mr. Halins Agoda at the resumed hearing of the petition yesterday said the invited persons would testify in respect of the circumstances surrounding the revocation of the OPL 245 awarded to Malabu Oil and Gas. The invitation of the six was sequel to the testimony of a witness that the oil license was revoked on account of alleged refusal of the petitioners to meet certain demands from the Presidency on share percentage of the ownership of the license.

The petitioners alleged that the invited persons had met several times over the issue of the oil license before it was revoked by the Federal Government. The petitioners represented by team of lawyers, led by Chief Clement Akpamgbo (SAN) tendered documents to prove their allegation that the Federal Government did not follow due process of open competitive bidding in the revocation of the license. Answering a question on how the Federal Government usually awards Oil Prospecting License in the country, an official of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mrs. Yinka Omoregie, said the Minister of Petroleum used his discretion on the procedure in the award of oil license. "The minister has a lot of power to make a bid either open competitive one or limited, selective bidding or he can also give the license without bidding," the official said.

The committee chairman, who adjourned sitting till February 19 to enable the invited people appear, also directed the department to bring all relevant documents in the case on that day. He stated that the committee was out to ensure justice on the matter.