- NNPC Boss Sidelining Me, Board, Kachikwu Tells Buhari
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has written a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, alleging acts of insubordination and humiliation by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru.
In the letter, titled ‘Re: Matters of insubordination and lack of adherence to due process by the GMD NNPC – Dr. Baru,’ written on August 30, 2017, with reference number HMS/MPR/001/VOL.1/100, Kachikwu alleged that the NNPC boss had repeatedly sidelined and disrespected the board of the national oil firm, which is chaired by the minister of state.
After felicitating with the President, the minister outlined the various alleged misdemeanours of the NNPC boss, urging Buhari to intervene by calling on Baru to respect due process.
In August 2015, Buhari appointed Kachikwu as the NNPC GMD, but replaced him with Baru in July 2016 and made the minister the chairman of the corporation’s board.
In the letter, which was sighted by our correspondent in Abuja on Tuesday, Kachikwu said, “Mr. President, yesterday (August 29, 2017) like many other Nigerians, l resumed work and confronted with many publications of massive changes within the NNPC.
“Like the previous reorganisations and ‘repostings’ done since Dr. Baru resumed as GMD, I was never given the opportunity before the announcements to discuss these appointments. This is so despite being the Minister of State, Petroleum, and Chairman, NNPC Board.
“The board of NNPC, which you appointed and which has met every month since its inauguration, and which, by the NNPC, is meant to review these planned appointments and postings, was never briefed. Members of the board learnt of these appointments from the pages of social media and the press release of NNPC.”
The minister told Buhari that it was in the spirit of service and absolute belief in the President’s leadership and integrity that he (Kachikwu), after one year of tolerating the disrespectful and humiliating conduct by Baru, decided to bring the GMD’s acts to the President.
Kachikwu said he had been on a race to stabilise and move the industry to the next phase, adding that parastatals in the ministry and all CEOs at these parastatals must be aligned with the policy drive at the supervising ministry to allow the sector register the growth that had eluded it for many years.
The minister stated that in anticipation of vacancies that would arise from retiring senior executives of the NNPC, he wrote to the GMD a letter requesting that they both have prior review of the proposed appointments.
“Not only did he (Baru) not give my letter the courtesy of a reply, he proceeded to announce the appointments without consultation on board concurrence.
“Mr. President, please note that there is a board service committee, whose function is to review potential appointments and termination of senior staff prior to implementation. This committee was also not consulted,” Kachikwu said in his letter.
He said the open administration, which he introduced, had been completely eroded, as NNPC staff members were afraid of contacting the minister for fear of being punished, sidelined in appointments and targeted.
“The effect of the attitude of the GMD and the sidelining of the board is that there is a fear culture in the NNPC,” Kachikwu stressed.
Listing his prayers, the minister noted 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.”
He added, “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 the NNPC to run as a proper institution and report out along due process lines to the board and that Your Excellency instruct that all reviews be done with the minister of state prior to your decision.
“That to set right examples, you approve that the recently announced reorganisation changes be suspended until the GMD, myself and the board have made relevant input to same. This will send a clear signal of due process and transparency.
“That Your Excellency encourage joint presentation meeting between head of parastatals and the minister of state to you as to encourage a culture of working together and implant discipline in the hierarchy.”
Kachikwu said against the rules, some major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with him or the board of NNPC.
Some of these contracts, he stated, include the Crude Term contracts, valued at over $10bn; the DSDP contracts, valued at over $5bn; the AKK pipeline contract, valued at about $3bn; various financing allocation funding contracts with the NOCs, valued at over $3bn; various NPDC production service contracts, valued at over $3bn to $4bn.
“The legal and procedural requirement is that all contracts above $20m would need to be reviewed and approved by the board of NNPC. Mr. President, in over one year of Mr Baru’s tenure, no contract has been run through the board.
‘‘As in many cases of things that happen in NNPC these days, I learn of transactions only through publications in the media,’’ Kachikwu wrote.
The NNPC’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, told one of our correspondents on Tuesday that he had not seen the minister’s letter to Buhari, adding that he would not comment on what he had yet to see.
Ughamadu stated, “You called it a letter, right? I’ve not sighted the letter. You can only comment on what you have sighted or what you have read. And if you called it a letter, then it is supposed to be something personal between the sender and the receiver.
“However, the important thing, with respect to your enquiry, is that I have not sighted the letter.”
It’s normal correspondence between minister, President
In response to enquiries, the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources on Tuesday evening, through an email from its spokesperson, Idang Alibi, confirmed the minister’s letter, but regretted that the confidential memo between Kachikwu and the President was publicised.
It said, “The attention of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources has been drawn to a publication on a memo emanating from the HMSPR to the President.
“Please, note that the communication under reference is a normal procedural correspondence by the minister to the President relating to developments in parastatals under his supervision.
“It is most distressing to the ministry of petroleum resources that a confidential communication to the President on the performance of one of its parastatals can be made public.
“The focus of the communication was on improving efficiency and deepening transparency in the oil and gas sector for continued investor confidence.
“It is noteworthy that the President has been fully supportive of the efforts of the ministry to entrench good governance and accountability in the oil and gas sector.”
Sources at the corporation and the ministry confirmed to one of our correspondents that all had not been smooth between Kachikwu and Baru, stressing that this must have warranted the petition against the GMD by the minister.
Presidency declines comments on Kachikwu’s letter to Buhari
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, on Tuesday, said he would not comment on the minister’s letter to Buhari.
“I have no comment,” Adesina simply said when one of our correspondents asked him what action the President had taken or would take on the matter.
When also asked if Buhari had received the letter, the presidential spokesman insisted he would not comment on the matter.
China and EU Seek Partnership: Xi Jinping Proposes Key Trade Alliance
Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his desire for China and the European Union (EU) to become key trade partners and foster trust in supply chains, during a meeting with EU leaders in Beijing.
The talks marked the first in-person summit between the two sides in four years and addressed a range of economic concerns, including data flows and market access.
Xi emphasized China’s commitment to high-quality development and opening up, positioning the EU as a crucial partner in economic and trade cooperation.
He envisioned the EU as a trusted collaborator in industrial and supply chain cooperation, aiming for mutual benefits and win-win results.
The summit delved into longstanding issues, such as efforts by Europe to “de-risk” its supply chains and the EU’s anti-subsidies investigation into Chinese-made electric vehicles.
China criticized the investigation, urging the EU to avoid using it for “trade protectionism.”
Xi called for the elimination of interference between China and the EU, a statement likely directed at the United States, which has taken actions, including enlisting the Netherlands, to curb China’s development of high-end semiconductors.
The EU leaders, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, described their conversation with Xi as “good and candid.”
They discussed the main challenges amid increasing geopolitical frictions, emphasizing a commitment to balanced trade relations and pledging to enhance people-to-people exchanges.
During the meeting, Italy formally informed China of its exit from the Belt and Road Initiative, highlighting ongoing strains between the EU and China.
Xi discussed Belt and Road with EU leaders, expressing a willingness to connect it with the EU’s Global Gateway infrastructure plan.
However, deep issues remain, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, trade imbalances, and Chinese overcapacity exported to Europe.
Jens Eskelund, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, stressed the need to address these issues to foster a positive relationship between Beijing and Brussels.
UAE Commits $30 Billion as COP28 Climate Talks Kick Off in Dubai
Nigeria Eyes BRICS Membership within Two Years as Foreign Minister Emphasizes Strategic Alignment
In a strategic move towards global economic collaboration, Nigeria is aspiring to join the BRICS group of nations within the next two years.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, affirmed that Nigeria is open to aligning itself with groups that demonstrate good intentions, well-meaning goals, and clearly defined objectives.
Tuggar stated, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be; being multiple aligned is in our best interest.”
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to be part of influential groups like BRICS and the G-20, citing criteria such as population and economy size that position Nigeria as a natural candidate.
BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, stands as a formidable bloc of emerging market powers.
In a recent move to expand its influence, BRICS invited six additional nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join the group.
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, has been absent from the BRICS alliance, prompting discussions on the potential economic and political advantages the bloc could offer the country.
Analysts have noted that BRICS membership could provide Nigeria with significant leverage on the global stage.
Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that Nigeria did not apply for BRICS membership after the bloc’s announcement of new members in August.
Shettima emphasized the principled approach of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighting a commitment to consensus building in decisions related to international partnerships.
As Nigeria eyes BRICS membership, the move is seen as a strategic step towards enhancing its global economic and diplomatic influence.
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