We don’t need minister’s approval to award contract – NNPC replies supervisory ministry; Gunmen kill 11 in Rivers; Atiku & Jonathan Meet over 2019 Presidency; Baru replies Kachikwu: No law mandates me to discuss contracts with you; Suspend Kachikwu & Baru – Senate panel chair urges Buhari; Police boss protests Senate’s closure of National Assembly Police Division . . .
Nigerian national oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has replied its supervisory ministry, the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and its Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu. The NNPC said on Monday that all it required to award a contract was the approval of the Tenders Board and not the minister’s endorsement.
The Corporation said in statement that the clarification followed the publication of alleged lack of adherence to due process in the award of contracts by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, in his August 30 letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister had claimed that “several major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with him and the NNPC Board.”
The President had since ordered the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru and the entire management team of the Corporation to respond expeditiously to the allegations.
The statement reads: “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.
It was a gloomy Monday in Port Harcourt as unknown gunmen reportedly killed no fewer than 11 people. The reasons behind the gruesome murder of the people were still sketchy as at time of filling this report.
Ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar may have kickstarted his presidential ambition towards the 2019 presidential race. In this regard, Atiku met discreetly with ex-President Goodluck Jonathan towards this project.
The meeting said to have been held at the instance of Atiku, who was said to be seriously considering offers made to him by a section of the leadership of the opposition party to return, according to a THISDAY source, explored the desirability of the move and concluded that it would be a worthwhile political endeavour that could help terminate what both leading politicians regarded as the uninspiring rule of the APC.
THISDAY had in a recent report indicated that there were concerted efforts by some PDP leaders to bring Atiku back to the party’s fold but that he gave conditions, including an assurance that he would be given its automatic ticket to contest the 2019 presidential election.
The fresh meeting with Jonathan was said to have looked into the possibility of this condition with both of them said to have agreed that all options should be kept open as the political dynamics of the country remained fluid, requiring a more pragmatic approach to the upsurge in politicking, which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) warned against last week.
The GMD of NNPC Dr. Maikanti Baru, on Monday officially responded to the recent allegations of insubordination and corruption leveled against him by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu. According to the NNPC, the response was following a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari to Baru and his team, mandating them to react to the issues raised in the petition that was written by Kachikwu.
“Following the publication of alleged lack of adherence to due process in the award of NNPC contracts, the President ordered the Group Managing Director and Management of the NNPC to consider and respond expeditiously to the allegations,” the corporation said in a detailed response issued by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja on Monday.
The oil firm stated that the substance of the allegations made by Kachikwu in a letter to the President dated 30th of August 2017, was that a number of “major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with me (Kachikwu) and the NNPC Board.”
The NNPC stated that it was “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, 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.”
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) Senator Tayo Alasoadura, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately suspend the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru.
Alasoadura specifically stated that Baru’s continued presence at the NNPC could jeopardise the Senate investigation into the allegations that he allegedly approved contracts to the tune of $25bn without the approval of the corporation’s board.
The senator said this during a live programme on Channels Television titled, Sunday Politics.
When asked if they should be suspended, Alasoadura said, “I believe so; especially the man who is doing the day-to-day running of the organisation. In order not to hinder or hamper that investigation, because records will be needed and even from the date of the leakage of that letter, I think action should have been taken to ensure that nothing will be missing when investigations start
“So, I think the two of them should be asked to step aside and when investigation is over, whoever is culpable will go and whoever is not culpable, will continue with his duties.”
The lawmaker, who represents Ondo Central Senatorial District, said one of the causes of the problem was the fact that Buhari doubled as the Minister of Petroleum Resources.
Describing the arrangement as faulty, Alasoadura said Buhari should step down and appoint a substantive minister who would be able to do the job more effectively.
He added, “Judging from the many problems plaguing our country today, I believe Mr. President should devote more time to other things and let an independent person run the petroleum resources ministry who will then report to him twice or once a week.’’
Alasoadura confirmed that 40 firms, which received the $25bn contracts would be invited by the Senate.
The Inspector General (IGP) Ibrahim Idris, has condemned the closure of the Police Division in the National Assembly by the Senate. The IGP said the Senate alleged closure of the police division was “illegal.” The Senate and the IGP have been engaged in a face-off. The IG has been accused of removing the Officer-in-Charge of the Division without recourse to the leadership of the National Assembly. NASS closed the Police Division in the National Assembly on September 12, 2017. In a letter dated September 19, 2017, entitled, “Re: Sealing and closure of Nigeria Police National Assembly Division,” Idris said the action was tantamount to a criminal act. The letter was personally signed by the IG and addressed to some high-ranking persons at the National Assembly.
It reads, “I am constrained to bring to the attention of the Chairman, National Assembly and President of the Senate, the sealing and closure of the Nigeria Police National Assembly Division since September 12, 2017 till date (seven days now).
“Preliminary inquiries initiated upon getting this report revealed that one Ibrahim Ndako – Sargent-At-Arms of the National Assembly and personnel on the said date evicted the duly posted Divisional Police Officer and staff from the police station in full glare reportedly on the instruction(s) of one M.A. Omolori – Clerk of the National Assembly and sealed the office(s).
“Pursuant to this, on September 17, 2017, I directed the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command in whose jurisdiction the National Assembly is domiciled to meet with the said M.A. Omolori – Clerk of the National Assembly and ascertain the circumstances that led to what is manifestly and unlawful action. Regrettably, this entreaty was bluntly rebuffed.
“No reason(s) prior to and after the closure has been formally conveyed to any formation of the Nigeria Police or to the Office of the Inspector General of Police in this regard even as at the time of this correspondence…
“Furthermore, it is also necessary to indicate that this action of evicting public servant in the course of performing their lawful duties and sealing an office domiciled in a public building complex devoid of an express order from competent court is tantamount to a criminal act punishable under the Criminal Code and Panel Code of Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The implications of this action in the light of current agitations now emanating from different parts of the country negatively impact directly on the security of the National Assembly Complex, the numerous members and staff of parliament domiciled therein as well as members of the general public; an outcome, which may no doubt escalate to a serious challenge to National Security.
“Consequently, I have initiated a formal investigation to determine the background and circumstances leading to this unfortunate and unprecedented development; the outcome of which will be conveyed to your distinguished office for information accordingly.
“While appreciating your tremendous support towards the successes of the Nigeria Police Force, accept as always the assurances of my highest regards, please.”