Senate Panel Walks Out Ngige’s Aide, Others at Hearing on Diving Abuse

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Nigerian Senate
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Senate Panel Walks Out Ngige’s Aide, Others at Hearing on Diving Abuse

The Senate Committee on Local Content on Thursday walked out the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr. Yerim Tarfa, from its investigative hearing on abuse of diving regulations by International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country.

Tarfa had represented the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, at the session.

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Other representatives of IOCs sent out of the meeting included the Director of External Affairs of Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr. E. J. Okorie; Mr. Udobong Ntia (Director – ExxonMobil), Ozemoya Okordion (ExxonMobil), Aderemi Karkat (ExxonMobil), Meziechi Nwogu (TOTAL Nigeria Limited) and Onwuka P. Oreh (TOTAL), among others.

Committee Chairman Teslim Folarin, who gave the marching orders in Abuja, said the panel sent invitations to the chief executive officers (CEOs) of the various organisations to appear before it and that they were not expected to delegate their responsibilities.

He said the Senate may be compelled to invoke necessary sanctions against the Managing Directors of IOCs in Nigeria should they fail to respond to the committee’s invitation in person.

In his opening remarks, Folarin had said the session was borne of a motion, titled: “Urgent need to ensure strict compliance with statutory regulations and provisions regarding the Nigerian Diving Sector and also to urge the Federal Ministry of Labour, Employment and Productivity to as a matter of urgency inaugurate the Diving Advisory Board to ensure the regulation of its operation in the sector.”

He said the hearing was targeted at addressing the inherent shortcomings associated with the Diving sector in Nigeria.

The committee chairman later told reporters that it was a show of monumental disrespect for the institution of the National Assembly for the invited CEOs of the Ministry of Labour and the various IOCs to delegate other officers to represent them at the hearing.

According to him, the Senate had also, in its resolutions, urged the Federal Ministry of Labour, Employment and Productivity to inaugurate the Diving Advisory Board to ensure strict regulation of the diving sector.

“It had also urged the committee to investigate claims of contravention of relevant statutory provisions in the area of diving in the oil and gas sector,” Folarin said.

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