The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Tuesday declared its readiness to re-commence search for oil in full at the Chad Basin, Gongola and Benue channel.
The Corporation is, therefore, seeking military support for the protection of its workers and high-tech equipment.
Mallam Mele Kyari, its Group Managing Director spoke when he led top Management of the NNPC on a visit to the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Gabriel Olonisakin, at his office in Abuja.
The GMD also urged the public not to drag the Corporation into politics in the guise of requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act.
He spoke during a courtesy visit by the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Waziri Adio, to the NNPC Towers in Abuja.
A statement by the NNPC, stated that due to the security challenges in the Chad Basin, Gongola and Benue Trough, the NNPC had not been able to mobilise fully to those areas of its important operations.
He said: “Am visiting the Chief of Defence Staff as my first port of call following my appointment to seek for the support of the Armed Forces to help the NNPC in re-entering the Chad Basin, Gongola and Benue Trough to enable us carry out our mandate for national development. Your support in terms of providing full security for staff and equipment is critical to us.”
He added that the Corporation equally required the military to intensify efforts in the protection of NNPC’s pipelines and Right of Way (RoW) across the nook and cranny of Nigeria.
Kyari said the NNPC was seriously challenged by the nefarious activities of pipeline vandals, petroleum products thieves and other economic saboteurs that breach the operations of the Corporation in various parts of the country.
The GMD recounted the significance of NNPC’s contributions to the national economy, saying corporation’s synergy with the Military was critical to the wellbeing of the nation’s economic lifeline.
Responding, Gen Olonisakin described the NNPC as a strategic corporation that would be given full military support to enable it deliver on its mandate to the people.
“It is imperative for the Armed Forces and the NNPC to collaborate and synergise for the benefit of the country going by their various strategic roles to the nation. The Armed Forces operations, code named: Operation Wase and Operations Delta Safe, along with other operations, were geared towards protecting pipelines and various oil and gas facilities,” Gen Olanisakin averred.
He said the military and the NNPC had been working together and the visit of the GMD would further bolster the various operations to secure the oil and gas installations, adding that the military had devised several strategies to stem the tide of pipeline breaches in the country.
Speaking on the FOI Act, Kyari said: “As you are aware, sometimes the requests are brazenly malicious, and they are laden with political undertones. NNPC finds it difficult to respond to such requests because it is mindful of falling into the trap of being drawn into politics or maligning others.”
He said in keeping with its commitment to be accountable and transparent, the corporation would publish its audited accounts soon.
On the disclosure of contracts and contractors as requested by the NEITI boss, he said the biggest contracts in the corporation’s portfolio currently are the products supply contracts under the Direct Sales Direct Purchase (DSDP) scheme, adding that details of the contracts and the contractors would also be made public within this month.
He promised to make the monthly financial and operations reports more accessible by publishing the soft copies of the reports from January to May, 2019.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, congratulated Kyari on his appointment. He said: “This is a big opportunity you have been given to shape the direction of this country in a positive way and I believe you have the capacity to do that.”