OrderPaperToday – President Muhammadu Buhari is on a collision course with the National Assembly over the unbundling of of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

On Tuesday, Minister of State, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu reportedly announced that the president has approved the unbundling of the corporation into seven independent operational units.

Same day however, the House of Representatives strongly condemned the unbundling, describing it as usurpation of its powers.

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Recall that Kachikwu had last week said the NNPC would be broken into separate companies in broad reforms of the oil and gas industry. He however made no reference to controversial Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

The parliament Tuesday said the announcement last week by Kachikwu who also doubles as Group Managing Director of the NNPC, offended the constitution as an Act of the National Assembly was required to break the corporation into bits.

The lawmakers said instead of embarking on an unconstitutional exercise, the president ought to send an executive bill to the National Assembly as if he actually intended to unbundle NNPC or carry out fundamental restructuring or reforms in the oil and gas sector.

The House presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara accordingly mandated its committees on Petroleum (Upstream), Petroleum (Downstream), Gas and Local Content and Legislative Compliance to ensure that the unbundling was not carried out.

The House said the Minister cannot undermine the National Assembly and desecrate the Constitution by the action on NNPC.

The resolutions of the House followed a motion sponsored by Mr. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe (PDP, Cross River) entitled, “Urgent need to investigate acts of procedural breach by the GMD of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.”

Jarigbe in the motion had noted that the minister on Thursday, March 3, 2016, was quoted as announcing some major overhaul of the system “one that hasn’t been done in over 20 years.”

He noted that the NNPC was established through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, CAP N123, laws of the Federation, 2004 and that as a creature of legislature, the NNPC Act or any part thereof can only be altered, changed or otherwise amended only by an Act of the National Assembly.

Meanwhile reports say Kachikwu announced the new status of the oil company in Abuja on Tuesday.

The new units are Upstream, Downstream, Refineries, Ventures, Gas and Power, Corporate Planning and Services, and Finance and Accounts.

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