Stakeholders in the oil and gas industry have expressed concern over the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri’s strong stance toward the Executive Secretary (ES) of the Nigeria Content Monitoring Development Board (NCDMB), Felix Ogbe.

Heineken Lokpobiri
Heineken Lokpobiri

This follows the minister’s reversal of the ES’s decision to redeploy some staff members of the Board.

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In a letter dated March 5, 2024, addressed to the ES, Lokpobiri asserted that the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Act 2010 does not empower the Executive Secretary to redeploy or appoint management staff.

He emphasized that the ES lacks the authority to overturn deployments or redeployments made by him and the chairman of the Governing Council of the Board.

Quoting Section 101 of the Act, which empowers the Minister to make regulations for carrying out the provisions of the Act, Lokpobiri warned the ES against usurping the powers of the Governing Council on any subject matter. He overturned the redeployments announced by the ES, directing affected staff to remain in their places of assignment.

Lokpobiri clarified that the NCDMB management is accountable to the board led by him, and Ogbe does not have the power to redeploy, appoint, or employ management staff. The governing council of the organization was recently inaugurated by Lokpobiri, with Ogbe serving as the secretary of the council.

Some industry stakeholders, including legal professionals, cautioned against political interference in key government agencies, expressing concern that such interference could undermine the autonomy and effectiveness of these agencies.

They emphasized the importance of adherence to the provisions of the Act and warned that if the minister’s interference continues, it may impact the industry’s perception of the agency’s independence and effectiveness.

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