By Kelvin Alohan
President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed the former Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) Engr. Farouk A. Ahmed as Chief Executive Officer on the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NPRA).
His appointment replaces the nomination of Engr. Sarki Auwalu the present Director and CEO of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) whose name had initially been sent to the Senate for confirmation.
The request to withdraw Auwalu’s nomination and replace with Ahmed was contained in a letter dated September 28, 2021, and read by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary on Wednesday.
The President in a previous letter dated September 16, 2021, had requested the upper chamber to confirm Auwalu alongside three others as board members of the NPRA.
The president explained that the replacement request was duly in accordance with the provision of Section 34(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
Meanwhile, industry experts who spoke with extractive360 on Auwalu’s nominations had described it as a wrong choice to appoint him to manage the downstream, arguing that he would have better served in the Commission which oversees operations in the upstream sub-sector.
Commenting on the issue, oil sector analyst, Mr. Henry Adigun observed that although Auwalu is a very brilliant man, his experience is basically in the upstream.
“We needed somebody who understands the downstream and the underlining issues because that is where we can create jobs. With an active downstream and midstream we can create jobs and the more jobs created the more the sector adds to the GDP. Right now oil and gas contributes less than 8% to our GDP,” Adigun said.
However, Adigun while reacting to Ahmed’s appointment noted that it was “a pleasant coincidence,” adding “We keep vigilance”.
Ahmed is a Member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE-USA) and member of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN). He has over 34 years of his professional career in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.