Condemnations have continued to trail the letter written by Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Kachikwu over his ‘perceived’ inability to exercise “supervisory powers” over the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru.
A statement by a socio-political group, South West Professionals, described as incompetent.
Kachikwu, it will be recalled, had in a leaked 8-page letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday accused Baru of “acts of insubordination, humiliation, disrespect and lack of due process in the award of contracts.”“
He had alleged the GMD of awarding contracts worth $26billion Kachikwu without due process.
But according to the group, Baru is responsible directly to the substantive minister, which is President Buhari, and not a ‘junior minister’ like Kachiukwu.
Quoting copiously from the NNPC Act, the group’s coordinator, Jokanola Ayinde, noted that it was stated clearly that the GMD NNPC will report directly to the substantive minister of petroleum resources, in this case President Muhammadu Buhari. Sadly for Kachikwu, the Act was silent on the GMD reporting to him.
Relying on a letter dated June 26, 2015, the statement explained that the BPP clarified a clause regarding the power of the NNPC Tenders Board (and not the NNPC Board) to award contracts without recourse to the Minister of State.
The statement revealed that the approval limit of the NNPC Tenders Board is $20m, adding that where such contracts exceed the tenders board’s limits, approval must be sought from the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The group said there is no how Baru, who is not even a member of FEC, can be blamed for not carrying the minister along and bypassing due process, as the Federal Executive Council, which Kachikwu is a member, must have approved the contracts.
According to the statement, it was when Kachikwu realized he was powerless to influence Baru as Minister of State in terms of contracts and other demands, that he started raising false alarms. He is bitter seeing Baru having unfettered access to the President.
Praising Baru for the yeoman jobs he has done since resuming office as NNPC GMD, the group revealed how, shortly after becoming the Minister of State and lost the authority to award ‘juicy contracts’, Kachiukwu became unsettled.
“Since the coming of Baru, prices of petroluem products have been normalised. He has carried out major reforms which we are all witnessing today. Of major importance to us is the the commissioning of the rejigged NNPC station in Ibadan, last week. This is apart from the refurbishment of the moribund refineries. The minister of state letter was borne out of envy” the statement concluded.