President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday directed the incorporation of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and appointed the board and management of the new company.
Special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, announced this in a statement yesterday.
This is as some Senior Advocates of Nigeria have questioned the power of the implementation committee created by President Buhari to implement a law that takes immediate effect.
President Buhari signed the PIA which makes it a legal instrument with instant enforcement power, but an implementation committee that will undertake the task for one year has been raised.
In August, Mele Kyari, group managing director of NNPC, had said the national oil firm would cease to exist within the next six months as specified by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
The statement added that the president appointed Ifeanyi Ararume as the chairman of the board while Mele Kyari and Umar I. Ajiya will serve as chief executive officer and chief financial officer, respectively.
Other members of the board include Tajudeen Umar (north-east), Lami O. Ahmed (north-central), Mohammed Lawal (north-west), Margaret Chuba Okadigbo (south-east), Constance Harry Marshal (south-south), and Chief Pius Akinyelure (south-west).
“This is in consonance with Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the minister of finance on the nominal shares of the company,” the statement reads.
NNPC boss Kyari was directed to take necessary steps to ensure that the incorporation of the NNPC Limited was consistent with the provisions of the PIA 2021.
Kyari had said that NNPC would be transformed into a private company and would be incorporated under the Company Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
The incorporation of NNPC Limited will run as a commercial entity while the federation will still own all shares.
Meanwhile, there has been divergent views over the implementation committee put in place by the federal government for PIA. Concerns have been raised over the power of the committee to implement a law duly made.
Some Senior Advocates of Nigeria, who spoke with LEADERSHIP, have faulted the government.
A professor of law, Chief Awa Kalu, SAN, said the implementation committee is laughable.
He said right from the time the bill was being deliberated upon, it had been controversial.
Prof Kalu said, ”It is laughable to have an implementation committee in place. You know, before the bill became an Act, it was surrounded by controversy and that may have accounted for the setting up of an implementation committee.”
Mr. Ahmed Raji, SAN, on his part, said such committee may be necessary, particularly, for an Act that is controversial like the PIA.
He said without the implementation committee, the milestones of the Act may not be achieved. He commended the move.
Another senior advocate, Chief Mike Ahamba, said he is yet to read the Act.
According to him, if the Act provided for an implementation committee, that will be the position of the law.
”I am yet to read the Act but if setting up an implementation committee is provided for in the Act, it is a welcome development.”
Barrister Paul Omoluabi, on his part, said the moment an Act comes into force, full legal effect should be given to it.
He said Nigerians can challenge the powers of the committee set up if their mandate is completely outside the provisions of the PIA.’
He, however, said there are times an Act requires an implementation committee.
He said, ”There are however some considerations and sometimes the provisions of the Act itself may provide for a committee to midwife the full implementation of the Act.
”The Petroleum Industry Act may not have provided for such and specifically mentioned how the implementation should be carried out.”
He said the executive arm of government had the power to ensure that all laws made by the National Assembly are implemented.
”The Executive Arm (President) of government has the constitutional powers in Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution to ensure that all laws enacted by National Assembly are implemented in accordance with the constitutional provisions.
”There are several bills that have been passed into an Act before now. For example, the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSR) 2005 provided generally for legal framework for the formation of legal entities and also gave provision for a committee to midwife this process.
”Again, before the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) came into effect, a committee was set up to ensure a full implementation.
”Another example is the recent Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) strike wherein there was a demand for financial autonomy, there was indeed financial autonomy granted but there was no structure on ground to commence the implementation and immediately parties agreed to set up a Fund Management Committee and also a State Account Allocation Committee, all of these committee to ensure the implementation of the financial autonomy.
”The Petroleum Industry Act must be given the full legal effect since it has been made into an Act. Though the Executive Arm government has the powers to ensure that Act is fully implemented, they must not act outside the provisions of the Act,” Omoluabi said.