Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, says he approved contracts for the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), a situation which has generated controversies between the NNPC Group Managing Director (GMD), Maikanti Baru and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu.
Osinbajo’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande made this known in a series of tweets on his twitter handle @akandeoj, on Thursday, October 12.
Akande said the contracts were approved after due diligence by the Vice President when he acted as President recently.
The VP’s aide said his principal approved the recommendations for the contracts as part of necessary actions to deal with the backlog of unpaid cash calls and incentivise investments.
Akande said Prof. Osinbajo made the clarification in view of media enquiries that followed NNPC’s claim that the contracts were indeed approved by Osinbajo.
The VP’s aide tweeted: “In response to media inquiries on NNPC joint venture financing, VP Osinbajo, as Ag President approved recommendations after due diligence & adherence to established procedure.
“Action necessary to deal with huge backlog of unpaid cash calls which Buhari adm inherited and also to incentivise much needed fresh investments in the oil & gas sector.”
ALEDEH recalls that Kachikwu had accused Baru of awarding contracts worth over $25 billion without the approval of the board of the corporation in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The letter entitled: RE: Matters of Insubordination and lack of adherence to due process perpetuated by GMD NNPC, Dr. Baru, dated August 30, 2017, and directed to the President, Kachikwu alleged that Baru had been sidelining the NNPC board.
The letter which was sighted by Nigeria’s burgeoning online platform, ALEDEH, Kachikwu told Buhari that “the board of NNPC which you appointed and which has met every month since its inauguration, and which by the NNPC is meant to review these planned appointments and postings, was never briefed. Members of the board learned of these appointments from the pages of social media and the press release of NNPC”, the letter read.
Reacting to the allegation on Monday, October 9, in a statement signed by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu and titled “Allegations of Lack of Adherence to Due Process in NNPC Contract Awards”, Baru said the laws of the Commission, “do not require a review or discussion with the Minister of State or the NNPC Board on contractual matters.”
He, however, noted that despite this, “Kachikwu was in fact expressly consulted by the GMD and his recommendations were taken into account in following the laid down procedure”.