Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, says his memo to President Muhammadu Buhari against Maikanti Baru, Group Managing Director of the NNPC, was largely misunderstood by the press.
Kachikwu explained that the issued he raised in the memo did not border on fraud or corruption but on issues of governance. He stressed that himself and Baru were working together.
Speaking in Owerri, the Imo State capital, at the end of a three-day Nigerian Content Workshop organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Kachikwu said Buhari has directed them to move forward and find amicable solutions to the little rift.
“The conversation has been largely misunderstood to bother on fraud. It was not on fraud, but on governance and suggestions on ways to go about it. I think a lot of people got it wrong,” Kachikwu said.
“People dwell much on issues of sensationalism and leave the main substance. The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, and I are working together as Mr. President had directed to move forward.
“Mr. President has urged the two of us to find ways of working together to remove doubt and rift.
“Mr. President is a decent man and what he wants to achieve in this country is to live a legacy for posterity. He is a sincere leader, so nobody should accuse him of engaging in fraud.”
Kachikwu’s memo to Buhari, in which he alleged acts of insubordination among others against Baru has generated heated controversy.
In the memo, Kachikwu claimed that Baru unilaterally made key appointments into important different departments of the NNPC without recourse to the Board of which he (Kachikwu) is the chairman.
Baru was also accused of approving contract awards without first running them through the board or the minister of State.
But the NNPC issued a counter statement denying all the allegations and insisting that Baru had complied with all laid down rules and regulations in all his dealings as the NNPC boss.
The statement explained that the NNPC act provides that only the approval of the minister, not the minister of state, should be obtained before award of contracts or any other important activity of the corporation.