Kachikwu Meets Buhari, Keeps Mum as Baru Meets Osinbajo

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Dr. Ibe Kachikwu
  •  Heavy Security at NNPC Towers

By Omololu Ogunmade and Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja over his letter on allegations of insubordination by the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru.

While Kachikwu was meeting with the president, Baru was also meeting with Osinbajo after which he entered into the office of the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.

After his meeting with Buhari which lasted for over one hour, Kachikwu kept mum and declined to entertain any question from journalists who had eagerly awaited his emergence from the meeting. He muttered “no comment” as he walked past the press gallery, accompanied by the president’s chief spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina.

THISDAY gathered that Adesina only went to keep Kachikwu company after the meeting, as only the president and Kachikwu were in the meeting.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and the president’s media aides were not part of the meeting, a situation which implies that the president wants to keep his decision over the matter close to his chest.

Details of the three meetings are shrouded in secrecy.

Kachikwu’s meeting with the president was the fallout of his leaked  letter to the President where he accused Baru of undermining his office. and brazenly flouting due process in the award of contract worth $25 billion without recourse to the Board of NNPC for input and review.

He said whereas he would have liked to discuss issues contained in the letter personally with the President, he was blocked by some unnamed persons in the Presidential Villa despite several attempts he made to see him.

In the letter, dated August 30, 2017, Kachikwu had alleged that Baru undermined his office by unilaterally making senior executive appointments without recourse to the Board of NNPC which he chairs as stipulated in the law governing the operations of NNPC. 

In the letter, titled: “Re: Matters of insubordination and lack of adherence to due process perpetuated by the GMD NNPC, Dr. Baru,” and signed by the minister, Kachikwu said whereas appointments made by NNPC ought to be subjected to review by the board constituted by the president, members only got to read about the appointments on the pages of newspapers.

“Mr. President, yesterday, like many other Nigerians, l resumed work confronted by many publications of massive changes within NNPC. Like the previous reorganisations and repostings done since Dr. Baru resumed as GMD, I was never given the opportunity before the announcements to discuss these appointments. This is so despite being Minister of State, Petroleum, and Chairman, NNPC Board.

“The Board of NNPC, which you appointed and, which has met every month since its inauguration and, which by the statutes of NNPC is meant to review these planned appointments and postings, was never briefed. Members at the Board learned of these appointments from the social media and the press release of NNPC,” he said in the letter.

Kachikwu who also accused the NNPC GMD of awarding contracts to the tune of $25 billion without observing due process, appealed to Buhari to promptly save NNPC from imminent collapse.

“That you save the office of the Minister of State from further humiliation and disrespect by compelling all parastatals to submit to oversight regulatory mandate and proper supervision which I am supposed to manage on your behalf.

“You kindly instruct the GMD to effectively leave NNPC to run as a proper institution and report along due process lines to the Board and that Your Excellency instructs that all reviews be done with the Minister of State prior to your decision.

“That to set the right examples, you approve that the recently announced reorganisation changes be suspended until the GMD, myself and the board have made relevant input to same. This will send a clear signal of process and transparency,” the letter read further.

Heavy Security at NNPC Towers

In a related development, apparently acting on a security tip-off that civil rights groups in the country may have planned to storm its corporate headquarters on Herbert Macaulay Way, Central Business District (CBD) Abuja, to protest recent developments at the corporation, the headquarters of the NNPC was yesterday fortified with heavy and unusual presence of police personnel and anti-riot vehicles.

THISDAY sources could not confirm the interests of the groups planning the protest, but stated that the NNPC which already has a very tight security system at its premises, had to take extra security measures to safeguard its operations and personnel in case the protest eventually happens.

NNPC’s Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, debunked the alleged intelligence report of a possible protest.

He explained when contacted to clarify the situation, that it was nothing unusual, and that the corporation as the National Oil Company of Nigeria was expected to be heavily fortified at all times with good security measures.

“This is a national oil corporation that generates the bulk of the country’s foreign exchange and total revenue. There is usually a heavy security here, but at times, it is on and off. Last week, we had a heavy police presence, just like we had last month and other periods.

“It is a routine issue here with the police and military presence, and if you look around, you can see that. As a national oil corporation, that is what is obtainable all over the world,” said Ughamadu.

Also, in a related development, Aiteo, a Nigerian-owned oil firm has announced its appointment of a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to raise the bar of financial discipline in its operations.

A statement signed by the Senior Manager, Corporate Communications of Aiteo Group, Mr. Ndiana Matthew, and sent to THISDAY, stated that the new CFO, Mr. Bruce Burrows, would be expected to resume at the company in November 2017.

It said Bruce will bring into Aiteo, his wealth of experience in managing oil and gas, power, mining, manufacturing, consumer products, finance and public service portfolios in different parts of the world.

The statement added that Bruce previously held the CFO posts at Lekoil and Seven Energy respectively – both are oil and gas exploration and production companies with a focus on Nigeria and West Africa.

He also has 14 years’ experience as a finance director in JKX Oil Gas Plc, a London-listed exploration and production company with interests in Ukraine and Central/Eastern Europe, as well as Ernst & Young in both Wellington, New Zealand and London.

The statement quoted the Executive Vice Chairman of Aiteo Group, Benedict Peters, to have said about the appointment: “Financial discipline is the backbone of every successful company, and we are delighted to welcome Bruce Burrows to Aiteo.

“He brings unparalleled experience of working within the strictures of the global oil and gas market, and his knowledge will be invaluable as Aiteo continues to grow, both in Nigeria and internationally.”

Peters further said: “We are extremely proud of the work that we have done so far in building Aiteo into Nigeria’s leading indigenous oil company. We must now ensure that we have the right foundations in place to bring about Aiteo’s emergence as one of Africa’s most innovative, reliable and diverse oil and gas companies. Our appointment of Bruce underlines our continuing commitment to investing in the right people to deliver that vision.”

  • Truth

    LOL! As long as you are an Igbo or Biafran you are a slave in Nigeria. Your position in the Nigeria government remain ceremonial not executive. All of you will soon be disgraced not by IPOB but by your slave masters. Time will tell.

  • Expose hypocrisy

    I can’t wait for this dunce to be thrown out of office by the people. He lacks the intellectual capacity to rule a diverse country like Nigeria. A lot of people he claimed to be the people that he trusted will end up disgracing him because they are very corrupt that one could imagine.

  • I am loving these investigation rooms kind of interrogation between the president and his vice. Never before have we had such. These two leaders have each others confidence, and they are a winning duo.

    • Winning in corruption? Or you are ashame but feel to ashame to admit it. If you are too ashame to speak truth to power, why not hide yourself.

      • Are you for real? Your English is disjointed.

  • James Gunn

    If Buhari does not make a categorical statement or take decisive action on this matter within the next two weeks, I am sorry to say but it means he is a total fraud and is complicit in all the illegal contracts approved by Baru.

    • Suny

      And not fit to be a leader.

      • James Gunn

        Everybody knows he is not fit to be our leader. I just want him to finish his tenure and retire. The TsA implementation, the focus on tax, the whistle blower policy and the end of fuel subsidy will be improved upon by the next administration. He should just go abeg. I never supported or voted for him but even I am tired of telling his devastated supporters ‘ I told you so ‘ Buhari is too archaic, tribalistic and divisive to be our president for 8 years.

    • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

      James – you seem like a nice guy, so I will tell you. Please do not hold your breath

    • Catherine Munyua

      This government stings in corruption, nepotism, regionalism. I salute the shrewd northern political elites who did everything possible to make sure some highly educated region were blinded to support them to get back political power. I salute whoever leaked this letter to expose the lies about lopsidedness in everything this government is trying to fake Nigerians to believe. I hope lai Mohammad, will now see while honest Nigerians keep saying this government is more a regional government than a federal government that we have been practicing since 1999. President is executing exactly the motives why his people work tirelessly to make sure he accepted to run for the presidency based on illusional assumption that he is a nationalist,less corrupt and highly discipline. Buhari might probably do away with I’ve kachikwu than touch the untouchable, after all the noise will cease or moves should be exerted on his kinsmen keeping the so called chiboks ladies to release few to divert noise from the current wahala

  • Ify Onabu

    The Jews wondered if anything good can come out of Nazareth. As I write, I wonder if anything good will come out of Nigeria. To some elements in Northern Nigeria, their agenda is simply to milk the country dry. It was discovered the other day that one odious character did bury 9 million dollars cash in his village home. Which country in the world is run by people of this mind-set? But I do not blame them. I blame Dr Ibe Kachikwu, a very intelligent man, who, by dint of hard work, rose to occupy a very high office in the corporate world. He left his place of honour and stooped low to dine with the devil. They have began a process of making rubbish out of him. The same way they rubbished Dr Okonjo-Iweala, that is exactly what they are doing to him. Dr Kachikwu, Elumelu, Prof Utomi, Dr Okonjo-Iweala, …all notable sons and daughter of Anioma should be using their knowledge, skills and expertise to pull their people in Delta State out of poverty; instead, they are using such skills to serve an ungrateful Nigeria. This house is built on sand… it will soon collapse!

    • Fowad

      The cake is at the centre.

  • Enyi

    This should go a long way to show Nigerians that President Buhari will not give corruption a soft landing nor indiscipline too.

    What did Jonathan do to SLS revelation on the 20 bñ dollars missing???

    • sadiqueens

      Just sit and watch the children of rage/hate come for your head over this comment

      • E.Udah

        He’s not even worth the attacks. He’s a rookie who does not understand the issue of debate.
        One of the blind ‘sai babas’ criers.

    • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

      Is this the first case where his men have been fingered for involvement in financial malfeasance? How did he deal with those cases? What were the conclusions?

      In response to the whistle blowing of SLS, President Goodluck invited a top global accountancy firm PWC to conduct forensic accounting and investigate the amazing claims from the CBN Governor, who btw did not see it fit to discuss the matter with the Minister of Finance at the time – the result; that SLS claims were incomplete and could not be relied upon.

      Is your question answered? I would welcome a response to my questions.

      • okbaba

        Newbies in the forum! They easily forget but we will remain ever vigilant reminding them the past and fact-checking as well.

      • Troy

        Well said. Thank you again.

      • Milito

        Please save your breath and expect nothing less from Apc apologists and tribal bigots. As if GEJ’s purported failures of yester years automatically exonerates Buhari’s incompetence , nepotism , hypocrisy, divisive tendencies and unbridled appetite for cabalism.

        Until we over grow our senseless bias and demand due process and accountability from our leaders, we the masses deserve what we get. I am absolutely sure that none of the apologists and side supporters on issues of this nature actually benefit from these actors . So why are we this stupid and senseless?

      • There is no “financial malfeasance” here. Look at the general import of the memo again. Money did not change hands, and due process is an allegation. In other news, it was reported that some of the contracts were issued before the inauguration of the board. Don’t get me I’m neither in support of the two, but until we hear from the other side, or the accused is suspended to give way to proper investigation, we cannot draw a line. On the matter of Babachir Lawal, whom I know was the one you referring to, he is already in the cooler. Secondly, PwC were vague in their submission and go back again to look at the fraudulent term of reference given to them by the Jonathan administration. The Financial Reporting Council is no

        • ‘ned

          Ahmed, please if you do not in all honesty know, do not make comments. First, awarding contracts above your approval limit is an offence punishable by imprisonment under the Public Procurement Act, see the case of Oduah and before then Bode George went to prison under an approval memo sanctioned by the FEC though that was shown not to have a force of law.
          Two, the NNPC Board is there for a reason, thus someone may challenge the award and have it set aside. What does that do for due diligience, due process, and confidence in our business processes?
          Three, Babachir is in no cooler. If this government is sincere, EFCC should have been invited to investigate him. Osinbajo’s panel does not have a force of law.
          We have seen the Burutai and Dambazzau moves before, so please spare me and some others who still have our heads on our shoulders the twist or slant in logic!

          • Bode George and Aminu Dabo went to prison for contract splitting. Mind you there was a board and George was its chairman. In NNPC, if you read my comment, I said in other news people are alleging there was no board at the time some of the contracts were signed.

          • ‘ned

            It is called Contract Splitting because such contracts ought to be taken as a whole and in their specific instance as with most cases cases of Contract Splitting, if the split contracts are put together they are above the approval limit of those who split it. It was to address this gap that the FEC issued the memo which formed the basis of their prosecution and conviction.Assuming there was no Board when some of those contracts were awarded, how do you explain those falling within the period the Board was in place.
            Ahmed please look in the mirror and you will see a man who grasps at straws and assumptions to justify the unjustifiable. In other news, in other fake news. When will right thinking people stop defending impunity in this nation? In other news. Oduah tried another gimmick by using medium term lease to bypass her budget limit. There was no board indeed.

          • I don’t dwell on fake news please. I’m not a man with too many faces, the mask I wear is ONE!

          • stanley wilkins

            The real secret behind dr baru employing and awarding contract without due process will soon come to light.it is a fraud and there are lots of idiots behind this..I hope this issue will expose those govt official’s behind this so call NNPC BARU

        • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

          Why do you not join some of us in condemning inept leadership
          If you could go back – u will note that I was just as scathing of GEJ’s government because I believe that Nigeria’s problem is not APC or PDP – they are one and the same as far as I am concerned
          I do not know what is causing you to support and accommodate the obvious failures of this government – I will not assume.
          But please think about it
          Because when people like us sit on the fence and defend poor leadership and corrupt conduct, it is our children that suffer!

          • Thank you very much chief. If you had followed my other postings, you would understood where I stood. As a lawyer, I believe in hearing both parties before drawing up conclusions. I am more of an Ibe Kachukwu’s fan because he came from an industry I have respect for transparency wise: I know why I said so. Lest we forgot, at the height of Babachir’s imbroglio with the NASS, if he had gone to court against the NASS, he would have defeated them hands down. He wasn’t given the opportunity to defend himself or rather forced to defend himself. The matter was unilaterally taken up by the presidency to settled afterwards.

    • isi

      Meeting d minister!!! Is that the outcome of all d allegations.

    • Harry

      funny Enyi