NNPC Begins Exploration In Benue

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has officially begun oil exploration in the Benue Trough.

Group Managing Director Dr Maikanti Baru told Governor Samuel Ortom in  Benue yesterday, that seismic data collection would begin from Ondori Main Camp, across Makurdi, Guma, Gwer-East, Gwer-West and Logo councils.

According to Baru, the seismic data acquisition was based on encouraging results of previous studies in geological studies and basin modeling, aeromagnetic ground gravity and surface geochemistry survey.

He stressed that President Muhammadu Buhari, in 2015, directed NNPC to resume oil exploration in some inland basins, including Chad Basin, and the Benue Trough.

Baru stated that the Biofuel project will create a million direct and indirect jobs; 20,000 hectares of sugarcane feedstock plantation; Cane Mill and Raw/Refined Sugar Plant, to produce 126,000 tonnes yearly, and Fuel-Ethanol Processing Plant, to produce 84 million liters yearly.

He added that the project component of Bagasse Cogeneration Power Plant will have a capacity of 64 megawatts, while Carbon Dioxide Recovery and Bottling Plant will produce 2,000 tonnes yearly.

According to him, animal feed, worth 63,000 tonnes, will be produced yearly.

Ortom hailed President Buhari for considering Benue for the projects.

The governor prayed God to make the projects a reality and expressed his administration’s commitment towards ensuring security for workers and equipment.

 

 

Source: The Nation

NNPC Gives Hope To Jobless Nigerians With One Million Job Opportunities

Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) revealed during a courtesy visit to the Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu that the agency is set to create one million jobs for them.

 

 

To this end the company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ondo State Government to establish a 65,000 million litres bio-fuel plant in Okeluse, Ondo State. Mr Ndu Ughamadu, the corporation’s Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, in a statement said Baru explained to the governor that the plant and other projects such as cassava feed stock production would create at least one million direct and indirect jobs.

 

 

According to him, the project would be partly funded by some investors bringing in Foreign Direct Investment into the country. Baru reeled out other benefits of the project to include reduction of fuel import and greenhouse gas emission, and boosting the production of animal feeds from by-products of the plant.

 

 

The GMD also allayed fears of any possible negative impact of the plant on the supply of cassava-based foods for human consumption. He explained that the cassava to be used for the bio-fuel project was a special breed that would not interfere with the activities of farmers cultivating other breeds of cassava or crops.

 

 

”We have already discussed with you and you have agreed to make 15,000 hectares of land available towards the cultivation of this cassava.

 

”It will, of course, in the process invite people who are used to farming cassava as well as new entrepreneurs who want to go into that business to participate in the cultivation of the cassava that we are going to use for the production of the fuel ethanol.

 

”We expect that this plant, when built, will be producing at least 65 million litres per annum of ethanol that could be blended into our Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and will be used in Nigeria and neighbouring countries when exported,” Baru said.

 

 

He disclosed that the bio-fuel project would be fitted with a 40 megawatts electricity plant that would also supply power to the host communities. The GMD said NNPC intended to commercialize the greenhouse gas emission reduction capability of the project to win carbon credit for the nation from the international community.

 

 

He added that it would also make money from such by-product as industrial starch and others which would be converted to animal feeds to boost food production in the country.

 

”The benefits of this project to Nigeria and specifically to Ondo State are immense and NNPC is very eager to see it implemented.

”We are working with the investors who will invest because there are several dimensions to the project,” he said.

 

 

Earlier, Gov. Akeredolu, assured that the state had enough farmers as well as cassava to sustain the bio-fuel plant, stressing that his visit was to show his commitment to the project. Present at the signing of the MoU were officials of Nigeria Export-Import Bank, New Partnership for African Development and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency.

 

NNPC To Create 1million Jobs, Establish Bio-Fuel Plant In Ondo

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ondo State Government to establish a 65,000 million liters bio-fuel plant in Okeluse, Ondo State.

The NNPC Group Managing Director (GMD), Dr Maikanti Baru, said this when he received Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on a courtesy visit. This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by Mr Ndu Ughamadu, the corporation’s Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division.

Baru explained that the plant and other projects such cassava feed stock production would create at least one million direct and indirect jobs.

According to him, the project would be partly funded by some investors bringing in Foreign Direct Investment into the country. Baru reeled out other benefits of the project to include reduction of fuel import and greenhouse gas emission, and boosting the production of animal feeds from by-products of the plant.

The GMD also allayed fears of any possible negative impact of the plant on the supply of cassava-based foods for human consumption. He explained that the cassava to be used for the bio-fuel project was a special breed that would not interfere with the activities of farmers cultivating other breeds of cassava or crops.

”We have already discussed with you and you have agreed to make 15,000 hectares of land available towards the cultivation of this cassava.

”It will, of course, in the process invite people who are used to farming cassava as well as new entrepreneurs who want to go into that business to participate in the cultivation of the cassava that we are going to use for the production of the fuel ethanol.

”We expect that this plant, when built, will be producing at least 65 million litres per annum of ethanol that could be blended into our Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and will be used in Nigeria and neighbouring countries when exported,” Baru said.

He disclosed that the bio-fuel project would be fitted with a 40 megawatts electricity plant that would also supply power to the host communities. The GMD said NNPC intended to commercialize the greenhouse gas emission reduction capability of the project to win carbon credit for the nation from the international community.

He added that it would also make money from such by-product as industrial starch and others which would be converted to animal feeds to boost food production in the country.

”The benefits of this project to Nigeria and specifically to Ondo State are immense and NNPC is very eager to see it implemented. ”

We are working with the investors who will invest because there are several dimensions to the project,” he said.

Earlier, Gov. Akeredolu, assured that the state had enough farmers as well as cassava to sustain the bio-fuel plant, stressing that his visit was to show his commitment to the project. Present at the signing of the MoU were officials of Nigeria Export-Import Bank, New Partnership for African Development and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency.

NAN

NNPC Begins Oil Exploration In Nasarawa

The oil search in Nigeria’s inland basins has received a breakthrough following the commencement of exploration activities in  Nasarawa State’s section of the Benue Trough by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Dr. Maikanti Baru the Group Managing Director for NNPC,  announced this during a visit to the Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Almakura, in Lafia on Thursday.

Baru stated that the visit was in fulfilment of the presidential mandate that the NNPC should resume oil exploration activities in some of the nation’s inland basins, including the Chad Basin and Benue Trough.

He said the mandate was driven by the urgent need for the country to increase its oil and gas reserves, thereby improving revenue streams and creating more business and employment opportunities for Nigerians.

“I am happy to be personally here to kick-start the beginning of a high-profile stakeholders’ engagement towards oil exploration in the Nasarawa State’s part of the Benue Trough,” he stated.

Baru noted that NNPC, through its Frontier Exploration Services, would do everything possible to operate peacefully among the people and with much respect for the environment.

He said the corporation’s Frontier Exploration Services had already mobilised Integrated Data Services Limited, an upstream arm of the NNPC, to acquire seismic data in the Benue Trough from the Keana area.

“I am convinced that the success of the results from the IDSL’s seismic data acquisition will lead to the drilling of exploration wells in the area, which hopefully will launch Nasarawa State into the league of oil producing states in the country,” Baru said.

Earlier, the governor had expressed delight over the oil search in his state and assured the NNPC of the state government’s support towards the oil search in the frontier.

NNPC Operates Outside The Law! By Femi Falana

In his defence of the allegations of unilateral award of $25 billion contracts and sole management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the exclusion of the Board and the Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the NNPC GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru has categorically stated that he has the power to award contracts without any reference to the NNPC Board. He also pointed out Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources had equally awarded contracts without the approval of the Board when he was the NNPC GMD. As far as Dr. Baru is concerned the NNPC Tenders Board is competent to award contracts in line with the NNPC Handbook.

For reasons best known to him, Dr. Baru did not deem it fit to respond to the unilateral appointments of key staff in the NNPC without the approval of the Board of Directors. Since this particular allegation was not denied it is reasonable to conclude that it is admitted by the NNPC management even though the appointments in question were made in utter violation of the Federal Character Commission Act. It is however germane to review the matter within the ambit of the law notwithstanding the report that the presidency has thrown its weight behind the NNPC GMD in the face off with the Minster of State in the Petroleum Ministry. But for the national issues involved in the ongoing imbroglio one would have wanted to say that it serves Dr. Kachukwu well. After all, sometime in 2015, I had requested for information on the huge fund collected from the NLNG but which was not transmitted to the Federation Account. I was flabbergasted when Dr, Kachukwu who was then the GMD refused to accede to my request made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act on the grounds that the NNPC is not a public institution!

However, the defence of Dr. Baru has failed to take cognizance of the provision of section 6 (c) of the NNPC Act which has vested the Board of the NNPC with the exclusive power to “enter into contracts or partnerships with any company, firm or person which in the opinion of the Corporation will facilitate the discharge of the said duties under this Act.” For the avoidance of doubt, section 1 (2) of the NNPC Act states that the affairs of the Corporation shall be conducted by the Board of Directors of the Corporation. Since it is conceded by Dr. Baru that some contracts are subject to the approval of either the Board or the Federal Executive Council he is yet to inform the Nigerian people who approved the $25 billion contracts.

It is pertinent to state, without any fear of contradiction, that by virtue of section 3 of the NNPC Act the GMD as the chief executive of the Corporation shall be responsible for the execution of the policy of the Corporation and the day to day running of the Corporation’s activities and its associated services. But contrary to the erroneous impression conveyed by the management of the NNPC there is no conflict whatsoever between the provisions of the NNPC Act and the Public Procurement Act, 2007 to justify the usurpation of the powers of the NNPC Board by the Tenders Board of the NNPC headed by the GMD. Therefore, the unilateral award of multi-billion dollar contracts in the NNPC by Dr. Baru or the Tenders Board is illegal, null and void in every material particular.

With respect, the totality of Dr. Baru’s defence was anchored on the mistaken belief that the NNPC Act does not require him to report to the Minister of State but to President Buhari in his capacity as the Minister of Petroleum Resources. Dr. Baru must have forgotten that upon the removal of Dr. Kachukwu as the NNPC GMD in 2016 the President appointed him as the Chairman of the reconstituted Board of the NNPC in line with section 3 of the NNPC Act. Therefore, the decision of Dr. Baru to bypass the Chairman of the Board in the award of the contracts and appointment of NNPC staff cannot be justified either under the NNPC Act. Since Dr. Kachukwu was not removed as the Chairman of the Board the President ought not to have encouraged Dr. Baru to treat him and with such pompous disdain and arrogance.

In saying that he followed due process in the award of the $25 billion contracts Dr. Baru gave the highly misleading impression that once the President was briefed with respect to the award of the contracts due process was observed in line with the PPA. With respect, such position is neither backed by the NNPC Act nor the PPA. But as far as the PPA is concerned, the competent authorities that have the final say in the award of contracts and disposal of public assets under the current political dispensation are the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and National Council of Public Procurement (NCPP). The NCPP is not chaired by the President but by the Minister of Finance. The other members of the NCPP include some officials of the federal government and representatives of relevant professional bodies and civil society organizations.

Apart from constituting the NCPP and the BPP the President has not been empowered to approve any contract whatsoever. In fact, there is no reference whatsoever to the Federal Executive Council in the entirety of 61 sections of the PPA. To that extent, the FEC presided over by the President cannot approve the award of contracts which is the exclusive duty of the NCPP and BPP. Although the PPA was enacted in 2007 the President or the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has been approving multi-billion dollar or naira contracts, albeit illegally. Such illegality was perpetrated by the Yaradua and Jonathan regimes. Even the Buhari administration which has loudly undertaken to fight corruption has ignored calls from many civil society organizations to set up the NCPP.

Since neither the President nor the Federal Executive Council is competent to approve the award of contracts under the PPA the claim of the NNPC GMD that the controversial contracts were approved by the President cannot be justified under the PPA. To avoid a situation whereby the $25 billion contracts and others being awarded by the Buhari administration are annulled and set aside on the grounds that they were awarded by either the President or the FEC without any legal authority I hereby call on President Buhari to constitute the NCPP without any further delay. If this call is ignored, once again, the civil society anti corruption bodies ought to approach the Federal High Court for a writ of mandamus to compel the President to inaugurate the NCPP.

Apart from breaching the NNPC Act and PPA the NNPC has conveniently ignored the National Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Act. Hence it has refused to comply with the directive of the NEITI to remit $21.7 billion and N376 billion illegally withheld from the Federation Account. Even though Dr. Kachukwu recently disclosed that the nation had lost $60 billion due the NNPC has refused to recover same by implementing the provisions of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act. And instead of directing the NNPC to recover and remit the the huge fund to the Federation Account the Federal Government is busy piling up external loans. It is also worthy to note that the NNPC does not subject its budgets to the National Assembly for appropriation as stipulated by the Constitution and the Fiscal Responsibility Act. Shortly before proceeding on its annual vacation the Senate disclosed that the NNPC and 33 other agencies of the federal government had failed to submit their 2017 budget to the National Assembly. Characteristically, the NNPC management ignored the disclosure knowing that the Senate would not pursue the matter.

Finally, Dr. Kachukwu owes it a duty to react to the allegation of the management of the NNPC that as NNPC GMD he too had engaged in the unilateral award of multi -billion dollar contracts. Even if the allegation is true it cannot justify the reckless impunity that has characterized the management of the affairs of the NNPC since 1999. No doubt, the allegations and counter-allegations of Dr. Kachukwu and Dr. Baru over contract awards have reinforced my call on President Mohammadu Buhari to relinquish the post of the Minister of Petroleum Resources and appoint a full-fledged Minister to run and coordinate the affairs on the oil and gas industry in strict compliance with the law. Furthermore, the NNPC Board should be reconstituted because it is currently constituted by 9 members instead of the 6 persons provided for by section 1(2) of the NNPC Act.

I Approved Only Loans, Not Contracts For NNPC – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has denied the reports that he approved contracts for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) clarifying that what he approved when President Muhammadu Buhari was away on medical vacation were financing loans and not contracts.

Senior special assistant to the vice president on media and publicity, Laolu Akande, had earlier said that the VP approved contracts for NNPC.

Akande said the contracts were approved after due diligence by the vice president when he acted as president recently.

He 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 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”.

But refuting the statement made by his aide yesterday in Bonny Island where he flagged off the Bodo-Bonny Road in Rivers State, Osinbajo said he granted loans and not contracts.

He said, “They were financing loans, joint venture loans that have been procured. So, in some cases, NNPC ventures have to secure loans and they need the authorization to secure those loans. While the President was away, I granted authorisation which is what the law provides.

“The law actually provides for that authorisation. So, I did grant all of those. In fact, there were two of them but those are presidential approvals but they are specifically for financing joint ventures and they are loans not contracts”.

Recall that minister Of State Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, had accused the Group Managing Director of NCPC, Maikanti Baru, of alleged insubordination, due process abuse and malfeasance, leading to the award of contracts worth over $25 billion.

In a memo to President Buhari dated August 30, 2017,  Kachikwu attributed the slow growth in the oil and gas sector to illegal practices by the departments and agencies under his ministry, especially the NNPC headed by Baru.

But in his response, Baru described Kachikwu’s allegations as baseless and accused the minister of exaggerating and concocting figures to give vent to his claims, maintaining that due process was followed in the activities of the corporation.

Kachikwu-Baru: In Search Of A Truce

By Nation Newspaper

On Tuesday, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru met at the 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja. The duo plumped hands, smiled together and almost hugged like excited friends who had not seen for some time. Photographers clicked away and it was no surprise that almost all newspapers in the country yesterday had both men on their front pages.

Was that the first time the duo would meet at events and were photographed together? Certainly not! But what made them candidates for the front pages is the row between them over the running of the NNPC. Kachikwu, who is the chairman of the board, feels left out. Baru thinks Kachikwu is being dramatic and showing signs of not understanding the workings of an agency he once oversaw.

In response to six posers raised by Kachikwu’s loyalists, the NNPC yesterday released a fact-sheet claiming that the minister nominated seven firms for contracts, among others.

For stakeholders in the industry, the time to end the feud over allegations of insubordination and lack of adherence to due process by Baru in the execution of activities in the ministry is now.

The stakeholders had divergent views on whether Kachikwu or Baru is right or wrong. Not a few agreed that the conflict calls for speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which, they say, contains solutions to the gaps in the NNPC Act. The NNPC Act, according to them, has several gaps that make actions of Baru right and the grouses right, especially as the President doubles as the substantive Petroleum Resources Minister, making Kachikwu and Baru to report directly to the President.

To them, in absence, the PIB, the NNPC Act should be reviewed with roles, actions, and lines of report properly stated and streamlined.

Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), President Abiodun Adesanya said Kachikwu and Baru have done well in the oil and gas sector with very tangible achievements to show for it and should not allow political issues destroy these good deeds.

He said: “What is happening between the minister and NNPC chief is an administrative issue and as both of them report to the President, it is important that the President call them and resolve the issues amicably. This will make them accomplish ongoing and planned good works in exploration and other areas of the sector.”

“First and foremost, two of them have done very well as human beings. Chemistry of working together between two people sometimes cannot be as expected. But there must be sincerity and alignment with the aspirations and programs of the government of the day regardless of their views. If you are called to serve, you align your thoughts to work with the government’s objective.”

“The cardinal goal of this government is anti-corruption. Therefore, all your dealings must align with this objective. All the accusations are in this case are about not following due process and procedures. Nobody has said someone is corrupt.”

“Kachikwu has made a substantial progress in reducing the Niger Delta issues. The nation’s oil production is stable now with the attendant revenue increase for the government. He has resolved the persistent problem with the Joint Venture cash calls. He has also helped to influence the extension of exemption of Nigeria from the production cap by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).”

“Baru has also ensured unhindered petroleum products supply. Nigerians don’t queue to buy fuel anymore. There has been stability in the downstream subsector with a positive impact on the economy. Exploration efforts in the frontier basins especially those in the north are now being professionally and purposefully pursued.”

“If we are making progress in all these, and if someone is perceived to jump procedure, it has to be carefully handled. The issues raised in the conflict are administrative issues under the President and he can manage it.”

“There is need to look at the NNPC Act well, so this kind of issue doesn’t arise again. If the Act provides that the NNPC on one hand, reports to the Minister of Petroleum Resources and on the other, the President and a case arises where the President is the Minister of Petroleum Resources, the situation should be reviewed and roles streamlined.”

“Governing Board is part of NNPC, so management and board should be on the same page. This can be amicably resolved. On how the NNPC carries out its duties can also be streamlined. The National Assembly is looking into that, to streamlines roles and lines of reporting.”

“This issue brings to the fore the issue of passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). PIB has the solution to this problem and it becomes surprising why the House Representatives is sitting on the Bill while the Senate is giving it speedy treatment.”

“Let us not allow political issues to destroy the good deeds achieved in the sector. The President should call Kachikwu and Baru, resolve the issue amicably and ensure such issues are treated and resolved internally and kept away from public consumption in future.”

For the Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Mr. Eze Onyekpere, the issue calls for a need to speedily and totally pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law. He said the managers of Nigeria’s oil and gas resources should be more concerned with maximizing value from the resources for the benefits of Nigerians especially as oil and gas are being threatened by the shift to use renewable energies.

Onyekpere said he was yet to see any company law that doesn’t present its activities to the board before implementation, adding that the issue is test case for the reforms for the sector.

“The situation presents a water-tight case for the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) because the world is not waiting for Nigeria. The nation is currently facing the challenges posed by the increasing production and the choice for renewable energy worldwide.”

“The world is moving away from the use of fossil fuels and we should be concerned as a nation what to do with the hydrocarbon resources we have before it becomes totally useless. The world is leaving Nigeria behind.”

“The allegations against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are critical because they border on lack of transparency and lack of due process and should be taken seriously irrespective of who is involved.”

“I want to look at the company law that says a company doesn’t report its activities to the board. It is nonsensical to classify firms that lift crude oil as off-takers. Also at what point did the NNPC present the report to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), and who presented the report to FEC when the Minister of Petroleum was not aware? Is it the President the presented it to FEC or was it the Vice President when the President was away?”

“What is happening is an aberration and a watertight case for reforms for the oil and gas sector that is the mainstay of the country.”

“On the proposed suspension of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the Group Managing Director of NNPC by the Senate to enable the upper legislative chamber carry out its probe into the allegations against the NNPC without difficulty, Onyekpere said the suspension should be for the person that ran contrary to the law and due process.”

Lonadek Oil and Gas Limited Principal Consultant, Dr. Lola Amao said: “Corruption allegations would continue in Nigeria until anti-corruption systems, processes, and procedures are incorporated into governance. I am yet to see any NNPC leader who has not been implicated, caught or accused of being a suspect.”

“The institution was neither established to benefit the masses nor be transparent. I am not sure that Minister, Minister of State, and the Group Managing Director can discharge their duties as innocently as they would want to without being implicated in one process, incident, agreement, transaction, contract or another, among others.”

“The sooner we make NNPC a public company for the benefit of all Nigerians and have Incorporated Joint Ventures (IJVs) source for funding based on Return on Investment (RoI), the better for Nigeria. I hope this case highlights the need for NNPC to go public (privatized).”

Another stakeholder, who pleaded anonymity, said: “What is happening between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the NNPC is political. The battle for the life of Nigeria in 2019 has just started in NNPC Towers.”

“Nigerians should be on the alert and watch events unfold. They will recognize the cabal and characters of the soap opera.”

“NNPC needs to be privatized so the corporation will be subject to Nigerians and not Nigerians subject to NNPC.”

Osinbajo Admits Approving NNPC Contracts

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has taken responsibility for the authorization of controversial contracts allegedly approved by Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

This new development has now put an end to cold war between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu and the NNPC Group Managing Director (GMD), Maikanti Baru over who has power to approve contracts is such circumstance.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, in a series of tweets on his twitter handle @akandeoj, on Thursday, confirmed that the contracts were approved after due diligence by the Vice President when he acted as President, recently.

Akande said Osinbajo approved the recommendations for the contracts as part of necessary actions to deal with backlog of unpaid cash calls and incentivise investments.

He also said Osinbajo made the clarification in view of media enquiries that followed NNPC’s claim that the contracts were indeed approved by Osinbajo.

The tweets stated, “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.”

Kachikwu’s letter to the President in which he alleged gross insubordination by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Maikanti Baru, was leaked to the media last week.

He had alleged that Baru awarded $25 billion contracts without following due process.

He had also alleged that the $25 billion contracts were struck without consulting the office of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources or the board of the corporation.

My Concern Over The Current Debate On Ibe Kachikwu’s Letter To The President, By Tanko Yakasai

Having been associated with the corridor of power both at the state and federal level in Nigeria, I doubt if the President is such a docile person as to allow his subordinates to manipulate his office the way our media made us to believe. To adjudge an official for corruption, justice demands proof or evidence. Islam enjoins Moslems always to be just. In this regard, I would like to comment on the ongoing discussion on the letter the Minister of state sent to the President complaining of being side-lined by the NNPC GMD, INSUBORDINATION, and contract award without channelling such awards through him as chairman of the NNPC board. My understanding of the issue is that, it is unimaginable to assume such a leak can happen without the knowledge or even consent of the Minister of State or anybody who is the author of such a document.

 

From the content of the Minister’s letter, it contained series of grievances which appeared to have accumulated. It is a common knowledge that the President has been away for over three months, common sense dictates that such accumulated differences should have been conveyed to the Acting President during the absence of the President.

 

As I have said earlier, I am familiar with the happenings at the highest level of governance, both when I was a member of my state executive council for eight years and at national level as a Special Assistant to the President for four years. I know for sure that critical communications at the higher level are not normally done through a third party to avoid leakage of information. In view of that, Dr.IbeKachikwu’s letter must have been delivered to the President himself thereby eliminating the possibility of a third party knowing the content of such communication.

 

A leakage in this regard can only come from either Dr.Kachikwu or the President himself. Common sense dictates that the President will not leak such communication to the public particularly as it was carried by almost all the print media immediately after the letter was submitted to the President.

 

My feeling is that the leakage of the letter is simply made to embarrass the President and create an impression that he is not serious about following due process.

 

Another point is that some four years ago when I was serving in the Political Thematic group of Vison 202020, I could recall that late Dr. Ibrahim Tahir, raised an issue on the Public Procurement Act of 2007, enacted during the tenure of President Obasanjo, which he felt very strongly about.  Ibrahim Tahir’s strong feeling rose from alienation of the Ministers and the Board of Federal Government Parastatals in the award of contract. His argument is that under the present system, the President, Governor and the Local Government Chairman are the only people mandated by the electorate to serve as Chief Executive Officers of the tier of government they are heading. The constitution, however, empowered them to delegate some of their powers to their subordinates including Ministers and Board of Parastatals. Dr. Tahir felt that it was odd for the Minister and the Board of parastatals not to have a role in matters pertaining award of contracts. Members of that thematic group can testify how vigorously Dr. Tahir tried to converse support to recommend changes in this regard but without success.

 

To this extent the question of the NNPC GMD side-lining the Minister of State has no justification having regard to the provision of  PPA act of 2006 in PART V — ORGANISATION OF PROCUREMENTS under Accounting officer which states that “

 

  1. (1) The accounting officer of a procuring entity shall be the person charged with line supervision of the conduct of all procurement processes; in the case of ministries the Permanent Secretary and in the case of extra-ministerial departments and corporations the Director-General or officer of co-ordinate responsibility.

 

(2) The accounting officer of every procuring entity shall have overall

 

responsibility for the planning of, organization of tenders, evaluation of tenders and execution of all procurements and in particular shall be responsible for:

 

(a) ensuring compliance with the provisions of this Act by his entity and liable in person for the breach or contravention of this Act or any regulation made hereunder whether or not the act or omission was carried out by him personally or any of his subordinates and it shall not be material that he had delegated any function duty or power to any person or group of persons;

 

22.—(1) There is hereby established by this Act in each procuring entity a

 

tenders board (in this Act referred to as “the Tenders Board”).

 

(2) Subject to the approval of the Council, the Bureau shall, from time to time,

 

prescribe guidelines for the membership of the Tenders Board.

 

(3) The Tenders Board shall be responsible for the award of procurements of

 

goods, works and services within the threshold set in the regulations.

 

In view of the foregoing, it is clear that the PPA of 2007 does not confer any responsibility on the Ministers and Board of Parastatals on matters pertaining to public procurement.  I am, however, aware that for some time Ministers and members of Board of Parastatals are grumbling over their exclusion in the process of public procurement and award of contract.

 

On matters of insubordination, the Minister of State’s letter did not give sufficient details to enable an informed judgement by anyone on this matter. According to the Public Service Rules, any case of insubordination should be immediately reported for appropriate action. There is no indication where the Minister has reported the insubordination of the GMD of NNPC to the appropriate quarters.

 

I am getting concerned at the current trend in Nigeria where a whistle blower is automatically regarded as telling the truth without investigation. I saw this in the case of a member who accused Speaker and members of house of representatives of budget padding and the media did not subject his allegation to proper scrutiny.

 

For Nigerians to get it right, the practice whereby the accused is automatically presumed guilty is not in consonance with the principle of that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

NNPC’s Claims On Approval Of Contract False – Kachikwu Associates

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, claims NNPC’s Tenders Board is the only legal body to approve contracts and not the Board is false.

Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, the associates of the Minister of State of Petroleum, stated this in a fact-sheet available to The Nation on Wednesday.

The fact-sheet was in response to NNPC’s Monday statement, which described Kachikwu as a “liar” with his August 30 memo to President.

Kachikwu wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari, alleging that NNPC’S Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru

  • awarded $25billion contracts unilaterally;
  • ran a “bravado” management; and
  • made appointments without consultations.

Baru denied it all. He said no money was involved in the contracts and that the NNPC Tenders Board had no business reporting to Kachikwu and the corporation’s Board. The Presidency backed his position.

The fact-sheet, however, said: “Baru’s claim that the NNPC Tenders’ Board, not the NNPC Board, is the right body to approve such contracts in question is also false. According to Public Procurement Act’s Section below:

S.20. (1) The accounting officer of a procuring entity shall be the person charged with line supervision of the conduct of all procurement processes; in the case of ministries the Permanent Secretary and in the case of extra-ministerial departments and corporations the Director-General or officer of co-ordinate responsibility.

(2) The accounting officer of every procuring entity shall have overall responsibility for the planning of, an organization of tenders, evaluation of tenders and execution of all procurements and in particular shall be responsible for.”

“Apart from the GMD as the appointor of the Tenders’ Board, which he also chairs, his duty is pure to plan, organise, evaluate, execute and supervise the conduct of ‘procurement processes’ and not to approve contracts above his threshold under the seal of the Corporation.

“He cannot plan, organise, evaluate, execute procurement process, approve and execute approved projects. He lacks the statutory capacity to be the sole determinant of due process in the corporation.

“But after the approval by the NNPC Board, President or FEC, it is worthy of note that the Tenders’ Board, according to Public Procurement Act in Section 22 (3), ‘shall be responsible for the award of procurement of goods, works and services within the threshold set in the regulations.”

“Under the seal of the NNPC Board, according to the First Schedule, Part A, Sections 11, 12 and 13 of the NNPC Act which says:

“11. The fixing of the seal of the Corporation shall be authenticated by the signature of the Chairman and any other person authorized in that behalf by the Board.

  1. Any contract or instrument, which is made or executed by any person not being a body corporate would not be required to be under seal, may be made or executed on behalf of the Corporation by any person generally or specially authorised to act for that purpose by the Board.
  2. Any document purporting to be a contract, instrument or other documents duly signed or sealed on behalf of the Corporation shall be received in evidence and, unless the contrary is proved, be presumed without further proof to have been so signed and sealed.”

The Pregnant Kachikwu-Baru Affair

What we feared most about the Buhari presidency – lack of internal cohesion – is what is happening to the respected General who was elected in 2015 on the crest of his ethical strength to deal with official corruption, Nigeria’s major blight.

That is the sad denouement of last week’s leaked scandalous story about the country’s notorious oil corporation. Specifically, a letter, which Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu wrote to the President in August on alleged impropriety in contract awards in Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), was curiously leaked to the press. Its contents not to mention the subtle insinuations were indeed damning to the presidency and the image of the corruption-fighting stance of the administration. Nearly one week after the letter was leaked to the public, there has been no official word from the presidency beyond the president’s routine meetings with the two men at the centre of the story. After the reported meetings, no statement was issued. This is an insult to the expectant people. What exactly is going on? What did the President think of the allegations? Why was there no explanation to the people about why a serving minister could not see the President who is the substantive head of the oil ministry? It is either the government holds the people in utter contempt or is simply insensitive. And that stance smacks of arrogance of power in a strange democracy!

The Petroleum Ministry is charged with overseeing the NNPC and its allied agencies, among other concerns in the oil and gas sector. As supervisor of the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, the business and conduct of the officials of the ministry are always in the public eye. Humungous sums of money usually pass through the state oil firms. Hundred of billions of naira both from oil sales and other sources accrue to the nation through these transactions according to laid down rules. In any case, these extant rules have never been clear to the public, as stories of alleged revenue leakage from the oil firms have been curiously regular.

Besides, too many persons and officials in that sector have fallen into the cesspit of corruption through fraud and shenanigans. Some recent top officials in the sector are reportedly facing trials abroad. The affairs of the NNPC have always been shrouded in some secrecy. Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has repeatedly reported lack of transparency in NNPC. The stakes are therefore very high.

It is perhaps for this reason that the President Buhari’s decision to take charge (as Minister) in charge of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in 2015 was not challenged. But sadly, this has not insulated the state oil corporation and oil ministry from corruption stories.

Now at issue is the relationship between the Minister and the GMD of the NNPC in terms of appointments, taking decisions and implementing same without the authority of the NNPC Board chaired by the Minister of State. A background to the crisis was the reported frosty personal relationship between the minister and the GMD of the NNPC.

In the beginning of appointments, which President Buhari ordered, Kachikwu as GMD was made boss to Baru; the latter was then sent to the Ministry on a desk assignment, a position which some considered as punitive. When later in a re-organisation, Kachikwu was elevated as Minister of State and Baru returned as GMD, the latter seemed to have decided to operate without recourse to the minister. The only difference was that officially, Kachikwu is senior to Baru. Or so it seemed. Whatever the reasons for their unhealthy relationship, it has not served the nation well. The differences between two officials should not have been allowed to be a source of embarrassment as it has been.

In the leaked letter, Kachikwu reportedly complained that high-level appointments in the corporation were made without his or the input of the NNPC Board. He also complained that policy moves, which would have transformed the sector are being hampered by the incumbent GMD. His words conveyed deep angst, with such references to ‘insubordination’ and ‘humiliation’ in the course of serving the nation. In summary, the former Vice President of Exxon Mobil, West Africa, accused the current GMD of a misdemeanour and therefore called on the President to call him to order.

There are many questions, in this regard. But can it be true that a serving Minister of State for Petroleum Resources has not had access to the President since August this year when the letter was written? What then is the colour of the administrative machinery of the presidency, coordinated by the Chief of Staff to the President? Is the Chief of Staff mischievous or incompetent or both? This has exposed a failure of coordination in the presidency that has been made weaker since April this year when the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has suspended again on an allegation of corruption. Is it possible that some other ministers too may have been quietly enduring this travesty in administrative procedures?

But by far the most damning element in Kachikwu’s letter is the alleged approval of a whopping $25 billion for sundry contracts without the consent or knowledge of the minister who is also the chairman of the Board of NNPC. What exactly is the true state of things Mr President? Has any rule or law been broken? Is there really a fifth column working behind the scenes to sabotage the efforts of the President? Will the government sweep this matter under the carpet? The NNPC’s explanations through press statement yesterday were insensitive and insulting. The president, who doubles as the minister of petroleum resources, should put his house of commotion in order and address the serious allegations.

The Nigerian people need to know. Transparency should be the keyword. The government should not simply remain silent and hope that the matter would go away. If there has been any infraction, appropriate sanctions should be invoked. The government should make a statement to clear the air. The NNPC Board should be allowed to function to guarantee due process. The process of consultations between cabinet members and the President should not be left to the discretion of the Chief of Staff who from all indications is an interested party; he is quite curiously a member of the NNPC board. The proposed reforms in the NNPC should, therefore, be allowed to continue. The overall interest of the nation should be the basic concern of the government on this pregnant affair.

Remarkably, current holders of power should realise that they are responsible to the Nigerian people. If they do not give account now because of official protection, someday they will be held accountable. Certainly, officials in the last administration did not envisage the current audit that has allegedly exposed massive looting of funds. The buck stops at the table of the President who has received some plaudits on fighting official corruption.

Finally, the President should restore public confidence in the operations of the NNPC. Kachikwu should not be bullied into silence. Having rightly cried wolf over perceived disregard for due process, he must not acquiesce like the typical Nigerian if things do not change. All stakeholders should keep the government on its toes until a proper and satisfactory explanation is provided on the activities of the NNPC and how its operations can be made transparent to serve the needs of the people.

 

 

 

Source: The Guardian