- As IPMAN demands apology from Kachikwu
By Lawrence Olaoye
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has denied the reports that he approved contracts for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) clarifying that he only gave approvals for two loans.
This denial followed an earlier tweet yesterday by his Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity, Laolu Akande, who confirmed that his boss actually authorized the controversial contracts in the NNPC.
Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, had in a leaked petition to President Muhammadu Buhari alleged that certain contracts were awarded by the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC without observing due process.
Akande on on his Twitter handle @akandeoj posted “In response to media inquiries on NNPC joint venture financing, VP Osinbajo, as Ag President approved recommendations after due diligence and adherence to established procedure, action necessary to deal with huge backlog of unpaid cash calls which Buhari adm. inherited…
Few hours after the initial Twitter post, Akande in a statement recanted as his boss denied ever approving any NNPC contract.
He stated “Approached by reporters after the ground-breaking multi-billion Naira historic Bonny-Bodo road project, in Bonny, Rivers State, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, explained specifically that the approvals he granted to the NNPC while he was Acting President were for financing arrangements for the Joint Ventures between the corporation and IOCs, and not approvals for contracts.
“Said he: “These were financing loans. Of course, you know what the Joint Ventures are, with the lOCs, like Chevron, that had to procure. In some cases, NNPC and their Joint Venture partners have to secure loans and they need authorisation to secure those loans while the President was away. The law actually provides for those authorisations. So I did grant two of them and those were presidential approvals, but they are specifically for financing joint ventures and they are loans not contracts.
“Earlier today, I had tweeted on the same matter thus:
In response to media inquiries on the NNPC Joint Venture financing arrangements, VP Osinbajo, as Acting President, approved the recommendations after due diligence and adherence to established procedures. This was, of course, necessary to deal with huge backlog of unpaid cash calls which the Buhari administration inherited, and to incentivize much needed fresh investments in the oil and gas sector.”
Meanwhile, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN has demanded an apology from the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu over his leaked letter to the President on the Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Baru.
“ We expect the minister to start by showing example to publicly apologies over his leaked letter which nearly bring down the integrity of the GMD NNPC, the administration of the President Muhammadu Buhari and the current petroleum sector.
“His apology is necessary in order to clear the minds of many uninformed and some mischievous elements who are still insisting on the wrong impression of massive corruption by the Maikanti Baru led administration as alleged in his letter to the President,” IPMAN said in a statement signed by Danladi Garba Pasali, National Secretary and made available to the media yesterday in Abuja.
The Association said the minister’s statement that the autonomy of the oil and gas agencies “is very, very key with less of political interface” is a great confession that his allegation of Dr Baru’s insubordination is wrong and unwarranted.
“Our memories are still fresh of the massive corruption and mismanagement that nearly destroy the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry under the supervision of the former minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison – Madueke due to her enormous power.
“We therefore called on the minister and the GMD to shield their swords and work to gather for the benefits of the oil and gas industry,” IPMAN said.