The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe kachukwu, and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr Maikanti Baru, appear to be at daggers drawn.
Dr Kachikwu is said to have written to President Muhammadu Buhari accusing the NNPC boss of practices that could jeopardise the Federal Government’s policies aimed at repositioning the petroleum industry.
In the letter, dated August 30, which was said to have been leaked to the public, Dr Kachikwu complained to the President over what he considers as insubordination by the NNPC boss.
An alleged copy of the letter which is making the rounds on the Internet indicates that the minister is also unhappy with the manner recent changes in the NNPC were handled and accused Dr Baru of humiliating the board.
Dated a day after the NNPC announced a massive shakeup which affected 55 management staff, the Minister said it wasn’t the first time changes would be made without the Board’s input.
“It is in the spirit of service and absolute belief in your leadership and integrity that I have, after one year of tolerating these disrespectful and humiliating conducts by the GMD, decided to bring these to your attention,” the Minister wrote.
He called on the President to intervene and “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 he is supposed to manage on the President’s behalf.
He also called on President Buhari to “save the NNPC and the oil industry from collapse arising from the above non-transparent practices and empower the Board” to do the needful.
When Channels Television contacted the Ministry of Petroleum Resources on the matter, the Director Of Press in the Ministry, Idang Alibi, said the memo was meant to be a confidential communication but expressed disappointment that it was leaked to the public.
He said, “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.”
According to him, the essence of the memo is on improving efficiency and encouraging transparency in the oil and gas sector and boosting investor confidence.
A source at the NNPC told Channels Television that the corporation was not prepared to react on the issue.