Senate Committee on Gas has alleged a plot by some operators of the Presidential Committee on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to blackmail and intimidate the committee to abandon its inquiry into the controversial award and disbursement of over N 100 billion of government gas development funds.
The committee in a swift reaction yesterday pledged a harmonious working relationship with the minister of finance, Wale Edun, and PCNG to actualise the noble agenda of President Bola Tinubu of developing the nation‘s gas sector as an alternative source of energy.
In a statement made available to journalists yesterday in Abuja, the committee described as laughable an online media report that quoted the chairman of the committee Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe as saying he would bring down the PCNG implementation committee and will not ask them for money.
According to the committee, the chairman in the said letter to the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun dated January 9 never mentioned or threatened to run the PCNG down for whatever reason.
“There was no threat contained in the Committee’s letter to the Minister. It was an official letter and properly worded concerning the office and person of the minister.
The reported threat to pull down the PCNG was therefore another joke taken too far by the online media and what it represents in this instance.
“We would have ignored this report but we need to put the record straight here and for the avoidance of doubt, there was no such threat in the said letter to the minister by the committee.
“The false report is therefore part of the desperate plot by those who are not comfortable with our inquiry into the handling of the N100 billion gas project fund.
“We as a committee, therefore, cannot be blackmailed or intimidated to abandon constitutional responsibility and the committee still stands by its seven-day ultimatum given to the minister to furnish details of the disbursement of the fund which was in gross violation of the public procurement Act of 2007,” the statement said.
The committee noted that the Senate is saddled with the responsibility of oversights and that they will be failing in their duties if they are indifferent to how agencies of government spend the funds released for various projects.
The committee insisted that it amounts to a breach of the Procurement Act for the PCNG to go ahead with the disbursement without the approval of the National Assembly.