Reps summon AGIP over failure to pay $80m owed indigenous contractor

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petition has summoned AGIP Oil Company to appear before it on June 26,  over  alleged N80 million owed to De Cooon Services Ltd.

Rep. Michael Etaba, Chairman of the Committee expressed displeasure over non-payment and  non-appearance of AGIP oil at its investigative hearing in Abuja on Thursday.

De Coon is an indigenous company, run by Prof Nelson Onubogu, the managing director and chief executive officer of the company.

He said that not paying an indigenous company for a job well done and patronising foreigners for the same job was unfortunate.

The committee added that the act was capable of frustrating indigenous contractors, adding that it would not augur well to drive Nigeria out of business while encouraging foreigners.

He stated that it was high time Nigerians began to take themselves seriously.

Speaking on the issue, a member of the committee, Rep. Matthew Nwogwu, said that the non-appearance of AGIP was disrespectful.

“It’s unfortunate that people who are supposed to be accountable to Nigerians are not.

“When a committee like this is mandated by the constitution to handle issues concerning the lives of Nigerians, it summons an organisation but the refusal should call for worry.

“I don’t know who is protecting who but no one is above the law; the only people who have immunity are the governor and President.

Onubogu, in his response, said the invitation was well advertised in the media, adding that AGIP deliberately shunned the public hearing.

He said  the matter started more than five years ago, adding that a situation where a Nigerian company is being strangled by an Italian firm was unfortunate.

According to him, they owe my company over 80 million dollars paid by NNPCL. The NNPCL has paid the money but it was diverted out of Nigeria.

“AGIP Oil Company used some cronies to take this money out of Nigeria, and they refused to pay the Nigerian company.

“AGIP took all my cancelled contracts and gave them to my own staff while they were working for me.

“All I am saying here is that AGIP should pay my money; AGIP should be mandated by the NNPCL to pay my money.

He, however, said that he would not settle for anything other than to get his full money.

“I don’t believe in middle ground; the right thing should be done; they are owing me, and they should pay my money and restore all my contracts as awarded to me.

“There are rules and regulations for terminating and awarding contracts.”

He said he was ready for a peaceful resolution of the impasse, provided AGIP obeyed, adding that no one could tell him to forgo his money.

Onubogu said that he believed that justice must be done in the matter.

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