A coalition of non-governmental organisations wants the federal government to release details of the concession plans for the Port-Harcourt refinery as announced by Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum.
In a letter by Festus Keyamo, a human rights lawyer and counsel to the NGOs, the group urged the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to show proof that the planned refinery concession is in accordance with laid-down regulations.
On Wednesday, May 31, the Senate passed a resolution that plans to concession the Port-Harcourt refinery to oil giants AGIP and Oando should be put on hold until all allegations of breach of process have been addressed.
The lawmakers also summoned Kachikwu to appear before an ad-hoc committee to explain the process.
However, on June 8, the petroleum minister of state said that there were no irregularities in the concession plans. He also denied that the government was selling off the refinery as was alleged in some quarters.
Kachikwu said government was only partnering with third-party financiers to engage the original builders of the three refineries in Nigeria to fully restore the moribund facilities.
But Keyamo, writing on behalf of his clients pursuant to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, pointed out that the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment) Act and the National Policy on Public Private Partnership, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission is the agency responsible for all concession agreements in the country.
“The purpose of this application is to respectfully enquire whether the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission has taken custody of the said concession agreement and whether the concession was carried out in line with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment) Act as well as the National Policy on Public Private Partnership,” the letter read in part.
“We further urge you to kindly make available to us certified copies of all the documents regarding the concession of the Port Harcourt Refinery to Nigerian Agip Oil Company/ENI.”
The FOI Act, signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, gives everyone the right to request for any information that is in the custody of any public official, agency or institution.