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Fuel Scarcity: Why We Cannot Question Buhari -Senate

Senate says it has no powers to summon President Muhammadu Buhari over issues in the oil sector

Emeka Ekpunobi

Senate yesterday ex­plained why it would not invite President Mu- hammadu Buhari to answer question over the unending fuel scarcity in the country.

Instead the senate mandat­ed its committee petroleum to conduct full scale exam­ination on all issues associ­ated with current scarcity of petroleum products supply and distribution.

The Upper House declared that though the president is now in charge of the minis­try, it would however not in­vite him to answer question on goings on in the sector.

Senate noted yesterday that it did not screen Presi­dent Buhari as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and therefore cannot summon him in such capac­ity.

Senate said it can only summon the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, to answer ques­tions on any oil related issues that may arise, even as the lawmakers commended the president efforts to sanitize the industry

The commendation followed a motion yesterday by Senator Barau Jibrin drawing attention of the senators to the unending fuel crisis.

The senate at a resumed session yesterday howev­er mandated its committee on petroleum (downstream) to ‘ urgently examine all issues associated with the current scarcity of petroleum products, determine how the legislature will collaborate with the executive arm of government to bring a lasting solution that will prevent any future problem of fuel scarci­ty in the country “

The President had at the inauguration of 3-member cabinet said he would take charge of the petroleum in­dustry.

But senate yesterday said such arrangement does not make him a minister and therefore cannot be summoned to answer question over fuel crisis.

Spokesman of the senate Senator Aliyu Sabi, at a brief­ing yesterday, said there was nothing wrong in the presi­dent supervising the industry.

Senator Sabi said that the fact that the president now supervises the petroleum ministry does not suggest ‘paradigm shift’ in the power flow in the oil industry.

But the sponsor of the mo­tion, Senator Jibrin, in his lead argument asked the sen­ate to instead “commend the president for his diligence and uncommon commitment to resolving the intractable issues of petroleum product supply and distribution and commendable efforts made so far to clean up all institu­tions associated with petro­leum industry”.

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