Senate gives FG, NNPC one week ultimatum to end scarcity

Senate has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to, within one week, end long queues in fuel stations across the country.

The resolution followed the unanimous adoption of an interim report of its Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources, over the lingering fuel crisis.

Presenting the report, Committee Chairman, Kabiru Marafa, said the panel recommended that NNPC be issued a seven-day ultimatum to resolve fuel queues across the country.

Senator Marafa stressed the need for security agencies to ensure effective border patrol to check diversion of petroleum products to neighbouring African countries.

Marafa also said the joint committee recommended that the Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR) should double its efforts and enforce compliance with government regulated pump price of ₦145.

In his concluding remarks, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, urged NNPC management to comply with the resolution and ensure long queues disappear in seven days.

It was also a day Saraki revealed that the National Assembly is struggling with funding constraints in carrying out statutory functions.

The senate president disclosed this when he paid a working visit to the chairman and members of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), at their temporary office, located in Utako, Abuja, on Wednesday.

Reacting to a request from the chairman of the Commission, Adamu Fika, to have a permanent office inside the National Assembly Complex, Saraki pledged the support of the leadership towards the project but noted that inadequate funding remains the major challenge of the National Assembly.

Saraki said: “One of the things that I see here today is the issue of budgetary constraints. However, the impression around the country is often that the National Assembly has too much money. But, we have seen the challenges of the last few years. As we work through the number of bills passed, the public hearings held and the number of ad-hoc committees that have been established, we know the challenges of not being able to fund some of our activities. So far, I am happy to report that despite these constraints, the Eighth Senate has been able to surpass all previous Senates in the number of bills that we have passed in two years, despite the funding gaps.

Saraki, who also doubles as chairman of a joint session of the National Assembly, noted that it has not been easy for Nigerians to appreciate the various roles of the legislature as an arm of government being the youngest of the three arms of government.

“We all have a lot of work to do, in trying to make the people appreciate the role of the legislature in our democracy. This has not been easy, this is why I am sure that working with the Commission, we can work towards this together so that we can improve the image of the National Assembly.”

Earlier, Fika lamented that the Commission still operates from a rented apartment with its attendant costs.