NNPC GMD, Baru Replies Kachikwu, Says Minister’s Claims Were ‘Unfortunate’

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru, has finally responded to allegations of corruption and violation of contract laws raised by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibeh Kachikwu.

Kachikwu’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari was leaked last week to media detailing several allegations of Mr. Baru’s insubordination and unilateral award of contracts in NNPC totaling about N9 trillion without following due process.

Mr. Kachikwu met with President Buhari on Friday, but despite the weight of the allegations, no government official reacted publicly until now.

Read Mr. Baru’s statement released on Monday:

PRESS RELEASE

RE: ALLEGATIONS OF LACK OF ADHERENCE TO DUE PROCESS IN NNPC CONTRACT AWARDS

Following the publication of alleged lack of adherence to due process in the award of NNPC contracts, the President ordered the Group Managing Director (GMD) and Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to consider and respond expeditiously to the allegations.

The substance of the allegations made by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, in a letter to the President dated 30th of August 2017, is that a number of “major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with me (sic) the NNPC Board.”

It is important to note from the outset that the law and the rules do not require a review or discussion with the Minister of State or the NNPC Board on contractual matters. What is required is the processing and approval of contracts by the NNPC Tenders Board, the President in his executive capacity or as Minister of Petroleum, or the Federal Executive Council (FEC), as the case may be. There are therefore situations where all that is required is the approval of the NNPC Tenders Board while, in other cases, based on the threshold, the award must be submitted for presidential approval. Likewise, in some instances it is FEC approval that is required.

It should be noted that for both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase (DSDP) agreements, there are no specific values attached to each transaction to warrant the values of $10billion and $5billion respectively placed on them in the claim of Dr. Kachikwu. It is therefore inappropriate to attach arbitrary values to the shortlists with the aim of classifying the transactions as contracts above NNPC Tenders Board limit. They are merely the shortlisting of prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum products under agreed terms. These transactions were not required to be presented as contracts to the Board of NNPC and, of course, the monetary value of any crude oil eventually lifted by any of the companies goes straight into the federation account and not to the company.

Furthermore, contrary to the assertion of Dr. Kachikwu that he was never involved in the 2017/2018 contracting process for the Crude Oil Term Contracts, Dr. Kachikwu was in fact expressly consulted by the GMD and his recommendations were taken into account in following through the laid down procedure. Thus, for him to turn around and claim that “…these major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with me…” is most unfortunate to say the least.

THE NNPC CONTRACTING PROCESS

The contracting process in NNPC is governed by the following:

  1. Provisions of the NNPC Act
  2. The Public Procurement Act, 2007 (PPA)

iii. Procurement method and thresholds of application and the composition of Tenders Board as
provided by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Circular reference no.
SGF/OP/1/S.3/VIII/57, dated 11th March, 2009.

  1. NNPC Delegation of Authority Guide
  2. Supply Chain Management Policy & Procedure documents
  3. NNPC Ethics Guide

Approving Authority for Contracts

The SGF Circular (iii above) on procurement threshold provided the following authority limits for NNPC transactions as well as the composition of the NNPC Tenders Board:

Table 1: Financial Authority Threshold (SGF Circular (iii) above)

Approving Authority/No Objection to Award Special Works (NNPC)
BPP issues  “No objection to award”/FEC approves N2.70 billion (USD 20M) and above
NNPC Tenders Board Up to N2.7 billion (USD20M)

 

Table 2: Composition of Tenders Board (SGF Circular (iii) above)

Ministry Chairman Permanent Secretary
Members Heads of Departments
Parastatals Chairman Chief Executive
Members Heads of Departments

 

NNPC had cause to clarify severally from Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) as to the composition of NNPC Tenders Board and the role of NNPC Board appointed by Government. The following clarifications were made.
a. The BPP expressly clarified that NNPC Tenders Board (NTB) is NOT the same as NNPC Board. The governing board (NNPC Board) is responsible for approval of work programmes, corporate plans and budgets, while the NTB is responsible for approval of day-to-day procurement implementation.

  1. BPP referred to the SGF circular for the composition of the NTB to compose of the Accounting Officer (GMD NNPC) as the Chairman, with Heads of Department (GEDs) as members with the Head of procurement (GGM SCM) serving as the Secretary of the NNPC Tenders Board.
    The above clarifications of the provisions of the procurement process show that approvals reside within the NTB and where thresholds are exceeded, the NNPC refers to FEC for approval. Therefore, the NNPC Board has no role in contracts approval process as advised by BPP.

As can be seen, all these clarifications were sought and obtained prior to August, 2015 and were implemented by Dr. Kachikwu as the GMD of NNPC. Dr. Kachikwu also constituted the first NNPC Tenders Board on 8th September, 2015 and continued to chair it until his exit in June, 2016.

Typical NNPC Contracting Process

  1. Approval of project proposal and contracting strategy by NTB.
  2. Placement of adverts for expression of interest in electronic and print media.
  3. Soliciting for tender (Technical and Commercial)
  4. Tender evaluation
  5. Tender approval by NTB for contracts within its threshold; otherwise
  6. Obtain BPP certificate of no objection before presentation to FEC.
  7. Present to FEC for approval.

All Contracts in NNPC follow the above procedure.

SPECIFIC CONTRACTS MENTIONED IN THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PETROLEUM RESOURCES’ (HMSPR) LETTER TO MR. PRESIDENT

  1. Crude Oil Term Contract (COTC)- valued at over $10bn

It is important to state that the COTC is not a contract for procurement of goods, works or services; rather it is simply a list of approved off-takers of Nigerian crude oil of all grades. This list does not carry any value, but simply state the terms and conditions for the lifting. It is therefore inappropriate to attach a value to it with the aim of classifying it as contract above Management limit.

In arriving at the off-takers list for 2017/2018 COTC, the following steps were followed:

  1. Adverts were placed in National and International print media on Monday, 17th October, 2016.
  2. The bids were publicly opened in the presence of all stakeholders (NIETI, DPR, BPP, Civil Society Organisations, NNPC SCM Division and the press as well as live broadcasts by the NTA and other TV stations).
  3. Detailed evaluation was carried out and the short list of the successful off-takers was presented to the approving authority (Mr. President) for consideration and approval.
  4. Thereafter, NNPC published the list of the successful off-takers in newspapers and NNPC’s official website.

This has been the standard procedure and it is the same process adopted during the 2016/2017 COTC when the HMSPR was the GMD.

In conclusion, due process has been fully followed in the shortlisting of the off-takers of the Nigerian crude oil for the current term 2017/2018.

  1. The Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) Contract- valued at over $5bn

Like the COTC, the DSDP is not a contract for any procurement of goods, works or services, rather it is simply a list of off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum products of equivalent value.

This list does not carry any value, but simply state the terms and conditions for the lifting and supply of petroleum products. It is therefore mischievous to classify it as contract and attach a value to it that is above Management’s limit.

In arriving at the off-takers list for 2017/2018 DSDP, the following steps were followed:

  1. a. Work plans and execution strategy for the DSDP was granted by the approving authority (Mr. President).
    b. Adverts were placed in National and International print media and NNPC website on Thursday, 22nd December, 2016.
    c. The bids were publicly opened in the presence of all stakeholders (NIETI, DPR, BPP, Civil Society Organisations, NNPC’s SCM Division and the press as well as live broadcast by the NTA and some TV stations).
    d. Detailed evaluation was carried out and the short list of the successful off-takers was presented to the approving authority (Mr. President) for consideration and approval.
    This has been the standard procedure and it is the same process adopted during the 2016/2017 DSDP when the HMSPR was the GMD.

In conclusion, it has been confirmed that due process has been followed in arriving at the shortlist of the DSDP partners for the 2017/2018 cycle.

  1. The Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Contract

The AKK Gas pipeline project is a contractor financed contract. The process adopted for this contract is as follows:

  1. Approval of project proposal and contracting strategy was given by NTB.
  2. Placement of adverts for expression of interest in some National and International print media and NNPC’s website.
  3. Expression of interest for pre-qualification received and evaluated.
  4. Technical and Commercial tenders issued and evaluated
  5. NTB considered and endorsed tender evaluation result for FEC approval since this contract is above NTB’s threshold subject to obtaining the following certificates of no objections:
  6. BPP certificate of no objection (obtained).
  7. Certificate of no objection from Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) (obtained).
  8. Certificate of no objection from Nigerian Content Monitoring & Development Board (NCMDB) (being awaited)

BPP and ICRC certificates have been obtained, while that of NCDMB is being awaited after which the contract will be presented to FEC for consideration and approval.

Thus, due process is being followed in the processing of this contract.

  1. Various Financing Arrangements Considered with IOCs;

The financing arrangements reported as contracts are part of the process of exiting Cash Call approved by the FEC. It entails negotiations with JV Partners on alternative funding of some selected projects through third party financing to bridge the funding gap associated with Federal Government’s inability to meet its cash call contributions.

The third party financing option emanates from the appropriation act provisions that allow sourcing of financing outside regular cash call contributions. Upon approval of the calendar year’s operating budget, the NNPC in conjunction with its JV partners commence the necessary process for accessing financing to bridge the funding gap.

Section 8 sub-sections (1) and (4) of the NNPC Act CAP N123 requires that all NNPC borrowings must be approved by Mr. President. Specifically, it provides that:

(1) Subject to the other provisions of this section, the Corporation may, from time to time, borrow by overdraft or otherwise howsoever such sums as it may require in the exercise of its functions under this Act.

(4) Where any sum required aforesaid –

  1. a) Is to be in currency other than Naira; and
  2. b) Is to be borrowed by the Corporation otherwise than temporarily,
  3. c) The Corporation shall not borrow the sum without the prior approval of the President.

Due Process:

  1. NAPIMS and JV partner identify bankable projects that require financing and sends to NNPC Corporate Finance to assist in procuring financing.
  2. Constitution of Joint Financing Team (JFT) between NNPC and the JV Partner.
  3. JFT NNPC invites Request For Proposals (RFPs) from Financial Institutions.
  4. Submitted RFPs are evaluated and beauty parade conducted to determine most cost-efficient proposal.
  5. Negotiated Financing Strategy, Term-sheets, Structures and pricing are presented for NNPC Management’s (NTB) approvals.
  6. NNPC presents the renegotiated terms for approval of Mr. President.
  7. NNPC executes the resultant Agreement.

Financings taken under this Administration: Approx. $3bn are as follows:

All established due process as enumerated above has been observed leading to the securing of financing for the following projects in 2016/2017:

·    SN ·     PROJECT ·Amount (US$mn) APPROVALS ·LOAN EXECUTED BY
NTB PRESIDENTIAL
·        1. ·         NNPC/CNL JV Project Cheetah 1,200.00 ·        16/04/15 ·         01/09/15 ·         Dr. E. I. Kachikwu
·        2. ·         NNPC/CNL JV Project Falcon 780.00 ·        26/04/17 ·         31/07/17 ·         Dr. M. K. Baru
·        3. ·         NNPC/SPDC JV Project Santolina 1,000.00 ·        26/04/17 ·         10/07/17 ·         Dr. M. K. Baru
· TOTAL 2,980.00 · · ·

 

These are not procurement projects as described by the PPA, 2007. However, all established due processes as enumerated above were followed.

The NPDC Integrity Upgrade and Development Projects

All the NPDC procurement contracts were subjected to the approved procurement procedures as described in respect of the AKK Gas Pipeline project above. There were no breaches of any extant procurement processes.

For the benefit of doubt, it is confirmed that there is no single NPDC contract that has been approved by the relevant Tenders Board beyond its limit of financial authority and there is no single contract that is in the $3Bn to $4Bn range claimed in the write-up.

Conclusions

From the foregoing, the allegations were baseless and due process has been followed in the various activities.

Furthermore, it is established that apart from the AKK project and NPDC production service contracts, all the other transactions mentioned were not procurement contracts. The NPDC production service contracts have undergone due process, while the AKK contract that requires FEC approval has not reached the stage of contract award.

Ndu Ughamadu
Group General Manager
Group Public Affairs Division,
NNPC, Abuja.
October 9, 2017.

Read Minister Kachikwu’s Letter To President Buhari Over NNPC GMD Baru Insubordination And Scandalous Award Of Contracts

His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR

President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces

The Federal Republic of Nigeria

Presidential Villa Abuja

 

Your Excellency,

RE: MATTERS OF INSUBORDINATION AND LACK OF ADHERENCE TO DUE PROCESS PERPETUATED BY THE GMD NNPC – DR. BARU

FELICITATIONS

Let me start by welcoming you back to the country and by thanking God for your recovery from ill health. I join millions of Nigerians who rejoice and thank God for grating you the grace of healing and strength to continue the good work you have done for Nigeria in your long illustrious career in public service. I would have wanted to come personally after receiving you at the airport to facilitate with you and discuss matters herein contained, however, I have been unable to secure an appointment to see you despite very many attempts.

VARIOUS ACTIVITIES OF THE GMD

Mr. President, yesterday like many other Nigerians. I resumed work confronted by many publications of massive changed within NNPC. Like the previous reorganizations and reposting 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 of 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 statues of 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.

At the minimum and like all other Parastatals being supervised by me at the Ministry have continued to do, and in compliance with the proper governance standards expected of a serious public institution, these executive actions by NNPC were supposed to benefit from mine and the Board’s input prior to presentation to you. I need to add that backdoor and present same to the acting president were met with a request that this be discussed with me. This was never done.

Indeed, in anticipation of vacancies that would arise from retiring senior executives of NNPC, I wrote the GMD A letter requesting that we both have prior review of the proposed appointments. This was to enable me to present same to the Board or give an anticipatory approval and then review with the Board later (Appendix 1). I wrote to the GMD given previous happenstance of this nature, in addition, thereafter, I called the GMD to a private meeting where I discussed these issues. Needless to say that, not only did he not give my letter the courtesy of a reply, he proceeded to announce the appointments without consultation or Board concurrence.

Mr. President please not that there is a Board Services Committee whose function is to review potential appointments and terminations of Senior Staff prior to implementation. This committee was also not consulted.

The above is just one of the many occurrences of disrespectful experiences I have encountered with the GMD as your Minister of State.

CONTRACTS

The legal and procedural requirements are that all contracts above $20m would need to be reviewed and approved by the Board of NNPC. Mr. President over one year of Dr. Baru’s tenure, no contract has been run through the Board. This is despite my diplomatic encouragement to Dr. Baru to do so to avoid wrongfully painting you as a President who does not allow Due Process to thrive NNPC. Given the history of malpractices and the public perception of NNPC as having a history of non-transparency (Appendix 2: NEITI report), the NNPC Tenders Board (NTB) cannot be the final clearance authority for contracts it enters into. The NTB which is a collection of top level NNPC executives and COOs, with the GMD as Chairman, cannot continue to be the final approval authority for multi-million dollar contracts and transactions involving NNPC to the exclusion of the Board. Board members have singularly and collectively raised these issues to no avail. (Appendix 3: Letter from Vice President on Expanded Contract)

The following major contracts were never reviewed by or discussed with me Board of NNPC:

The Crude Term contracts- value at over $10bn
The DSDP contracts- value over $5bn
The AKK pipeline contract- value approximately $3bn
Various financing allocation funding contracts with the NOCs – value over $3bn
Various NPDC production service contracts – value at over $3bn–$4bn

There are many more Your Excellency, in most of these activities, the explanation of the GMD is that you are the Minister of Petroleum and your approvals were obtained. However, the correct governance should be that the Minister of the State and the Board review the transaction and give their concurrence prior to presentation to you. As I many cases of things that happen in NNPC these days. I learn of transactions only through publications in the media. The question is why is that the Parastatals which I supervise as Minister of State or Chair of their Board are able to go through these contractual and mandatory governances processed and yet NNPC is exempt from these?

I know that bravado management style runs contrary to the cleansing operations you engaged me to catty out at the inception of your administration. This is also not in consonance with your renowned standards of integrity.

WORKING RELATIONSHIP

Your Excellency, even though the appointments of the other Parastatals Heads in my Ministry were made without my input. I have maintained a cordial and respectful relationship with all. Parastatals under my supervision have continued to excel in their respective areas and adhere to mandatory governance processes. However, my working relationship with GMDs has been fraught with humiliation, sidelining and campaigns of character defamation against me. This is particularly frustrating given many contributions I have made to the growth and stability of the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry through the many policies I have introduced August 2015.

If NNPC is considered and known to be one of the Parastatals under the Ministry, why does the GMD refuse to report into my office or to the Board on the serious issues such as above especially given that I have been by Your Grace, the Minister overseeing these Parastatals for two years?

Your Excellency, even at the time when we were unfortunate to have you away to England for a medical checkup, the situation remained the same.

MEETINGS

The matter of collaborative meeting is another issue altogether. When I call for meetings, the GMD chooses which meetings he wishes to attend and those he chooses to send subordinate. He sends such subordinates without the courtesy of a call to explain his absence.  The unattended meetings are in the majority. In all of 2017, I have been able only to get him to have one on one meetings with me about four to five times.

At inception, I instituted a Monthly Parastatals review meeting with Head of Agencies and another with the all the Senior management in all the Parastatals. GMD objected to his Senior Staff coming to the Joint Senior Management meetings. He argued that this was overreaching his territory. He was only comfortable with the Monthly of all Heads of Agencies meetings which he has only attended a few times. I have had to carry on with the rest of the Ministry. Despite being Chairman of NNPC Board. I have tried to manage the bad perception created by GMDs blatant insubordination and disrespectful attitude. Particularly I have worked hard to avoid being seen as pretty and meddlesome.

FEAR CULTURE

The effect of the attitude of the GMD and the sidelining of the Board is that there is a fear culture in NNPC. The open administration I introduced, with your support in our first year of pushing reforms, has been completely eroded. The essence of this innovation was to drive great working interface and interaction amongst all Parastatals in the Petroleum sector. Other Parastatals have benefitted from this.

NNPC staff are afraid of contacting me to avoid being punished, sidelined in appointments and targeted. Indeed, the key factor for growth and advancement in NNPC of today is to avoid the Minister of State’s Office.

VARIOUS ACCUSATIONS

In order to convince to your Excellency of the need to sideline me, I am sure I have been labeled as being.

I.Anti-North

II.Corrupt

III. In Collusion With Militants

Some faceless blogs have even had the audacity to circulate such rumors. Nothing Your Excellency can be further from the truth. I mention this because this will be the likely response you will receive to this attempt I am making to alert you on the state of affairs under the GMD’s leadership.

These accusations are baseless.

I. ANTI-NORTH

First, all my appointments were generated with key inputs from all the COOs of NNPC and were balanced and based strictly on skills, experience, drive, and ethnic balancing for senior management positions. Mid-level positions were sole suggestions of the COOs. Let me say for the records that I am a completely detribalized Nigerian and I have lived my formative years in the East, West, North, and South-South part of the Country. My Father was a Federal High Court Judge in most parts of the North. My siblings and I benefited from growing up in Kano. In addition, I have resided and worked in Rivers, Delta, Lagos, Oyo, Enugu, Anambra, etc. I have no reason to be anti-North because in my working career I have found that good and skillful people abound everywhere in our Nation.

II.CORRUPTION

I have done nothing in my time at NNPC or the Ministry that is corrupt or laced with any such intent. In my time as GMD, all policies and contracts were generated by the Heads of Division, approved by COOs, passed through NTB and (in the absence of a Board at the time) I received your approvals, I have had no relationship with any one of or any transaction in my period that was product of a personal deal or an arrangement, if anyone benefited from NNPC contracts, they did so on their merit and I rarely participated in those contractual processes except to review them.

Anyone peddling any contrary information is resorting to cheap blackmail.

III.MILITANTS AND SECURITY:

I took on the issue of security headlong because it was the primary causative factor for production that declined from 2.2 mpbd to 1mpbd at our lowest point (November 2016). At great risk to my life. I visited militant camps, coordinated with our security apparatus, organized the four of the HEVP to several frontline states and worked with PANDEF and other groups to bring calm and increase production and some measures of stability to what it is today.

I have never betrayed the trust you placed on me. I did not deploy any public financial resources to achieve the results in the Niger Delta region. Most times I have utilized my personal resources and goodwill accumulated over the many years prior to my appointment to achieve these far reaching results and of course all these were with collaborations with Agencies of the government (Office of the VP, DSS, NSA, etc.)

I dare mention that the blueprint of these engagements were discussed with and approved by you.

Given the sensitivity of my position, I remain one of the most tracked officers of your government, so if there is any truth to these rumors, you would have known.

Mr. President you took me from the private sector where I left an enviable track record of performance and integrity spanning over 25 years rising to the highest positions in multinational oil sector organization. I came to this job with the zeal to change the sector. Measurable progress has been made and more would have been achieved but for the challenges I have listed above.

THE FUTURE OF THE OIL INDUSTRY

Mr. President I have been on a race to stabilize and move the industry to the next phase. Timing is critical. The sector is also in a critical state where only innovative ideas can stop the alarming impact of the fall of oil prices on the National Income. The innovations that we have developed and stated implementing in the Downstream, Upstream, Policy generation and Niger Delta Security have enabled the sector to stabilize slightly. However, truth is that given the global challenge in this sector, we must aggressively pursue out of the box ideas on rejuvenating this sector, getting the best yield and increasing our earnings from oil and gas. What this means is that Parastatals in the Ministry and all CEOs of these Parastatals must be aligned with the policy drive of the supervising Ministry to allow the sector register of the growth that has eluded it for many years. To do otherwise or to exempt any of the Parastatals would emplace a stunted growth industry.

PRAYERS

My prayers most humbly and respectfully are:

That we save NNPC and the oil industry from collapse arising from the above non-transparent practices and empower the Board you inaugurated to do the needful.
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 out 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 recently announced reorganization 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.
That your Excellency encouraged joint presentation meetings between heads of Parastatals and the Minister of State to you so as to encourage a culture of working together and implant discipline in the hierarchy.

These in my view, Mr. President, will provide you balanced analysis on issues and avoid exposing the exalted office of Mr. President to ridicule. It will also reduce nonproductive, unsubstantiated rumor peddling.

Mr. President, I thank you for the opportunities given me to serve and I wish you continued full recovery. I remain loyal and very proud of you Sir.

Mr. President kindly accept the assurances of my highest esteem and loyalty.

Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu

Honorable Minister of State Petroleum Resources.

Kachikwu’s Letter Confirms ‘A Cycle Of Power’ Within Buhari Govt. – Shehu Sani

Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, has said the letter by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu to President Muhammadu Buhari is an indication that there is a “circle of power within the President’s government”.

The Minister, in the letter had accused the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru of insubordination and humiliation.

Kachikwu had also expressed disappointment at the fact that he had no express access to the president.

But speaking on Channels Television, on Wednesday, Sani said Kachikwu’s letter showed that there was a system disconnect in the government circle.

According to the lawmaker, the letter had shown that there was a government within Buhari’s government.

Sani said, “The content of that letter and the allegations raised also raise a number of issues, not only about the NNPC but about the whole structure of governance that exists today.

“If a minister of state can outright say it’s been difficult for him to access channels through which he can present his issues, I think there is a system disconnect there.

“And it is simply giving credence to the fact there exists a government within the government. There are individuals that have formed a shield, a cycle. And I think the issue that it raised in every possible way, is pointing to the fact that there is a cycle of powers within powers itself.”

Clarifying his statement, the lawmaker said the “government within the government” he referred has nothing to do with the kitchen cabinet.

“This is about some persons who have surrounded the president and are exercising powers to themselves and to their advantage and also manipulating power for their own personal interest,” he added.

However, Sani said the President might not be aware of the issues raised in the letter.

“I am of the firm belief that if he is aware of this, he would have taken action.

“And if he is not aware of this and this has been brought to the public fore, then he can now take action on it. But if he says he will not take an action on this issue, then it will certainly stain the integrity of the administration,” he said.

BREAKING: Senate To Probe Ibe Kachikwu’s Letter To Buhari

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday resolved to launch a probe into a letter written by the Minister of state of Petroleum Services, Ibe Kachikwu to President Muhammadu Buhari complaining about insubordination and Ill-treatment from the GMD of the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru.

 

It was gathered that the Senate will be investigating the matter after a motion by Senator Samuel Anyanwu which had an amended prayer on the issue by Senator Kabiru Marafa.

 

Aliyu Wamakko heads the nine-day ad-hoc committee. It was also learnt that no time frame was given to the ad-hoc committee by Senate President Bukola Saraki.

 

On Tuesday, Ibe Kachikwu penned an 8-page letter to the president complaining about Baru’s ill-treatment towards him.

 

In the letter, which was leaked to the press, Ibe levelled heavy accusations on Baru, stating that Baru issued contracts without consulting his office, labelled him anti-north, made appointments without due consultation and accused him of conspiring with militants.

Four Dead In Lagos Explosion

Four persons were on Monday killed after an explosion hit the jetty of the Petroleum Wharf, Apapa, Lagos State.

It was gathered that a vessel, identified as Histria Ivory, was discharging Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) around 3am when some hoodlums besieged it to scoop fuel spilling from the vessel, which resulted in the death of four people.

Officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, men of the Lagos State Fire Service, Federal Fire Service, Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian Navy were said to have been called when the jetty’s in-house fire unit could not handle the inferno.

The Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Rasak Fadipe, who confirmed the explosion, said he could not tell if there was any casualty.

He said, “A vessel was discharging fuel and the manifold caught fire, which led to an explosion.

“The jetty in-house fire unit responded first, before calls were made to other fire agencies. We all battled the fire and put it out.”

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, in a statement on Monday, said the fire was caused by hoodlums who interrupted the discharge of fuel.

A statement, which was signed by the NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, assured motorists and other consumers of petroleum products nationwide that the fire would not affect the supply of petroleum products.

He said, “The NNPC has deployed a team of engineers in the jetty, while the repair of the affected parts will commence immediately.

“The fire was caused by the activities of hoodlums who were scooping fuel spilled from ships discharging fuel at the jetty.

“NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, who has been fully briefed on the incident, described the occurrence as unfortunate, assuring the public that the NNPC has more than 1.6bn litres of Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise called petrol, enough to last for 48 days.”

NNPC To Motorists: No Panic Buying Of Fuel

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has advised motorists across the country not to engage in any panic buying of petroleum products.

NNPC assures that the Corporation has in stock, Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol, sufficient to serve the nation for 48 days.

Similarly, there is in stock, sufficient quantity of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) as well as Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK) to serve the country.

Motorists are further enjoined to report any challenge they may have in the course of purchasing to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) which is statutorily empowered to deal with such issues.

DPR has offices located in all parts of the country.

The government is working assiduously to arrive at an amicable resolution of outstanding issues with the industrial unions.

NNPC Inaugurates Committee On Refineries Rehabilitation

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said it has initiated eight committees for the rehabilitation of three refineries in the country for optimum operation by 2019.They are the Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries.

In a statement by Mr Ndu Ughamadu, Group Managing Director, Group Public Affairs division, on Wednesday in Abuja, it said that the idea was to ensure it met the presidential mandate.

“In line with the Presidential mandate of rehabilitating the nation’s three refineries, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has inaugurated eight committees charged with returning the refineries to their nameplate capacities by the year 2019,” it said.

It quoted the group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru at the inauguration charging the committee members to deploy “out of the box solutions” to ensure that the refineries return to their good old days of top class performance.

“I am convinced that the teams we have selected here today will give the necessary direction towards returning the refineries back to their optimal levels of performance,” he said

The GMD explained that in executing the assignment, the Committees were expected to deliver well and within schedule as according to him, time was of the essence.

He added that the target for the refineries rehab was to return them to 90 per cent capacity utilisation before the end of 2019.

He said that with more commitment from the committees, 100 per cent capacity utilisation was achievable.

“We want to show everyone that we can fully run the refineries. You must all work together to operate them at 100 per cent capacity as this was the only way to ensure profitability,” Baru said.

He also emphasised the importance of the workforce in fixing the refineries.

“We can fix the refineries but without the right people to operate them, they will go back to where they were or even worse,” he said.

Earlier, the Chief Operating Officer, Refineries and Petrochemicals, Engr. Anibor Kragha, informed that the 2019 target was laudable as it was the first attempt in 20 years supported with the political will to rehabilitate the refineries.

He further said that over 28 Expressions of Interest had been received so far for the financing of the rehabilitation project and that the goal was to get more by the end of the year.

Assuring everyone that the nation would not suffer financially from the project, the COO explained that the approved financial model would guarantee payment to partners only from incremental profits.

“Payment is therefore hinged on performance, ensuring a win-win situation for Nigeria,” Kragha said.

Also, the Chief Financial Officer of the Corporation, Mr. Isiaka Abdulrazaq, reminded members of the newly inaugurated Committees that the rehabilitation of the refineries was one of the targets of the President Buhari’s administration.

Abdulrazaq expressed confidence in the members of the committees to deliver on their various tasks.

The Committees inaugurated for the rehabilitation of the refineries would be headed by a Steering Committee, chaired by the GMD.

Other Committees are Rehabilitation; Stakeholder Management; Financing; Legal; Procurement; Pipeline and Crude Oil Supply and Security as well as Staffing and Succession Planning.

Audit Report Reveals How Diezani Spent N59.44bn ‎NNPC Funds Without Due Process

The 2015 audit report of the Federation Account has uncovered how the embattled former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, usurped National Assembly powers to draw billions in cash from the joint venture cash calls account without appropriation.

The report published last month by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, AuGF, showed how Mrs. Alison-Madueke unilaterally approved the withdrawal of about N59.44 billion from the two accounts belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

About $292.09 million was withdrawn from the NNPC JVCC JP Morgan Chase Account in London, while another N2.47 billion was from the NNPC JVCC CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) naira account, for purposes outside the objectives the funds were provided for by the government.

Apart from the abuse of due process in getting approval for the release of the funds, the report said the release of $289.2 million (about N56.97 billion at 2015 year end rate of N197 to $1) to the National Intelligence Agency was in “cash”.

An additional $2.89 million was charged by the CBN as commission on the transaction, bringing the total amount disbursed to $292.09 million.

The report said the NIA had sought President Goodluck Jonathan’s approval for the release of the funds “for the procurement of 13 items of expenditure to enable NIA to respond to the nation’s mounting diverse and complex security challenges.”

However, the audit team said it found no evidence against President Jonathan granted the NIA’s request, other than a minute on the memo to former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, seeking the release of the funds from the NNPC Security votes.

 

NNPC Rejects Fake Recruitment Advert

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has, for the umpteenth time, reiterated that it has not launched a recruitment campaign of any kind for now.

The latest clarification is coming on the heels of a fresh recruitment advert purportedly from the Corporation being circulated by e-mails and on various social media platforms.

A statement by the Corporation’s spokesman, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, disclosed that the advert which is on a fake letterhead complete with NNPC logo is purportedly signed by the Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, and the Chief Operating Officer, Refineries, Mr. Anibor Kragha, and directs unsuspecting applicants to send their applications to a fake e-mail address:

Shedding more light on the scam, Mr. Ughamadu said another form of the scam involved text messages, e-mails, and letters inviting gullible job seekers for fake job interviews at the NNPC Towers and other locations across the country with a view to extorting money from them.

He called on members of the public, especially applicants, to discountenance any of such adverts or spurious invitations for job interviews as the Corporation was currently not recruiting, stressing that anyone who entertains such invitations does so at his or her own risk.

Mr. Ughamadu advised that anyone contacted for the purpose of the fake recruitment should not hesitate to report such invitations to relevant law enforcement agencies, adding that the Corporation would continue to engage security agencies on the scam.

He said NNPC Management under the leadership of Dr. Maikanti Baru would sustain the prevailing culture of transparency and accountability which has witnessed the conduct of open public bidding in sourcing for contractors and suppliers of goods and services for its day-to-day operations, including recruitment exercises, stressing that NNPC will advertise all vacant positions in national newspapers whenever it was ready to recruit.

Oduah To NNPC: Make Available Meters To Account For Daily Oil Production

A lawmaker, Senator Stella Oduah, has urged Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to put adequate metering system in place to enable Nigerians to know the country’s exact daily oil production.

Oduah, who is the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Women Affairs, told Newsmen in Abuja that a metering facility would also ensure leakages in the petroleum industry were blocked.

She expressed displeasure over NNPC’s inability to procure the device to adequately keep inventory of oil production in the country, many decades after it commenced.

According to her, it is shameful that several decades after oil was discovered in the country, it has yet to get a proper metering system.

The lawmaker said, “given the fact that crude is the mainstay of the economy, it is important to get adequate metering system to ensure accountability.

“I think it is a problem we should be ashamed to be discussing because in my view, they are problems that NNPC with all sense of sincerity, can easily resolve.

“I was employed in NNPC in 1983 and I was a member of a committee for commercialisation and reconstruction of NNPC at that time.

“The major issue we discussed, investigated and came up with solution to, was on how to ensure that we have adequate measurement of crude by having metering system in all the terminals.

“But, why is that still an issue to be discussed several years after?

“How do you not put in equipment that will give you accurate measurement of your product and this is the product that forms the basis of our budgeting?

“This is the crux of everything we do in this nation and every year, for the past 30 years and more, we are still talking about measurement as an issue.

“Even if we want to mirror it against any of the oil producing nation like U.S., UAE and others, it is just a simple problem,’’ she said.

Oduah said, “NNPC should be sincere to tell us why they are reluctant, and if not for interest, why will you not want to have proper measuring equipment on your terminals.

“How much are the equipment? For me, it is upsetting.’’

She explained that the equipment would enable Nigerians to know the flow of crude, “the quantity being exported, from which pipeline, where it is being loaded to and the volume loaded’’.

She added that the equipment would help to determine the back-up stock as well as challenges to be attended to, including the switching off of pipelines in the event of vandalism.

The legislator said that everything about tracking daily oil production could be done in NNPC offices by its officials, but that “they have to put in the equipment; they have to have the ICT.

“You cannot blindly stay there and wait for the operators to give you feedback. We do not know what we have because the NNPC and the DPR do not know.’’

On whether passage and assent to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will tackle the problem, she said that it would go a long way in finding lasting solution not only to the metering problem, but for other challenges.

On the role of the National Assembly in ensuring that the right equipment are put in place, Oduah said that several reports that emanated from the assembly on the matter, indicted the NNPC.

She, however, assured that the 8th Senate would not rest on its oars in making sure that the right thing was done.

She called on the Federal Government to put the refineries in proper shape for adequate production of finished products in the country.

The lawmaker said that Nigeria had all it took to do turnaround maintenance for the refineries while getting value for money rather than exporting crude at cheap rate and importing finished product at exorbitant price.

“We do not get value for money. Nobody does what we do. If we put money together and do turnaround maintenance for the refineries, it will help all of us, and that is what we ought to do.

“The NNPC knows that what they are doing is wrong. We have equipment, we have an experienced workforce. In the 80s and 90s, the refineries were working.

“If one refinery is shut down, the others will be working, but now nobody thinks about rehabilitating those refineries.

“What are you going to do with all those experiences that these people have acquired? We were told then, that we had the best refinery technicians, the best refinery engineers,’’ she said.

On calls by some experts for establishment of modern refineries with better capacities, Oduah said while that was necessary, old ones should be put to use while plans were on for the new ones.

Stella Oduah is a Senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District

Osinbajo Condemns Boko Haram’s Deadly Ambush On Soldiers, NNPC Personnel

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has condemned what he observed as the appalling ambush, attack and abduction of soldiers, and civilians who were carrying out their duties to the Nation in the Lake Chad Basin Frontier Exploration.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, in Abuja on Sunday, said the objective of “this patriotic exercise is to open up new areas for oil exploration for the common good of all Nigerians.”

According to the statement, the terrorist attack resulted in a number of deaths of hardworking and innocent Nigerians, and the abduction of some.

Osinbajo commiserated with the families, relatives and associates of those who lost their lives in “the despicable onslaught” and wished the injured speedy recovery.

The statement recalled that Acting President had after an emergency meeting with the military chiefs on Thursday issued fresh directives to the Nigerian military and all security agencies to immediately scale-up their efforts and activities in Borno State in order to maintain a strong, effective control of the situation and secure lives and property.

While commending the military for the progress already recorded with the rescue of some of the abducted, Osinbajo has also ordered the continuation of search and rescue missions to locate and ensure the freedom of all remaining abducted persons as soon as possible, using all available and expedient means in the circumstances.

The statement gave his assurance that justice would be pursued for the victims and against “those who engage in this kind of unacceptable, criminal and terrorist conduct.”

The Acting President also paid tribute to “the resilience, courage and bravery of officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces for their gallant endeavours and sacrifices for the peace, security and territorial integrity of our country.

He eulogised the Nigerian soldiers who have paid the ultimate price in this mission and others linked to the current insurgency, giving further firm assurance that the welfare of the families of the soldiers will be prioritized.

He also commended the diligence of the management and staff of the NNPC, and the lecturers/consultants from the University of Maiduguri in pursuing Federal Government’s resolve to grow our country’s current crude oil reserve base through potential exploration in the Lake Chad Basin, stressing that the government will by no means be dissuaded.

The statement quoted him as adding: “Some of these extraordinarily selfless Nigerians from the NNPC and the University Of Maiduguri put their lives on the line that we and generations to come will enjoy the resources of this land.  We will never forget that sacrifice.”

It noted that although pockets of terrorists have been launching attacks recently in Borno State, the Acting President assured the people of the State, the region and indeed all Nigerians, that the Federal Government “is not only on top of the situation, but will define the end of these atrocities by both winning the war and winning the peace in the North-east.”

Boko Haram insurgents were thought to have last week carried out the ambush in question in which over 50 persons were reported to have been killed and several others abducted.