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NNPC 101

Is it that Kachukwu’s petition on NNPC’s $26bn contract scam is dead?

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Not so long ago, a highly worded and revealing petition written by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, to President Muhammadu Buhari leaked to the media and elicited discordant reactions.

Leading position of the petition alleged breach of due process in the approval of $26billion worth of contract at the leadership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

It took the corporation headed by Dr. Maikanti Baru, days to respond, revealing that it never did anything against the law as the Act establishing NNPC only allowed the Group managing Director to report official issues to the substantive Minister of Petroleum and that the Office of the Minister of State is alien to the Act.

NNPC in a detailed response denied the allegation and clarified that the President who also doubles as the Minister of Petroleum, who was on medical vacation at the time, approved the contract in question.

Within the crisis period, there was an attempt to drag the Vice President into the trap, but he smartly made it clear that VP Osinbajo, as Ag President only approved recommendations after due diligence.

Now the Vice President has stated that he only gave approval for loans not contracts. Essentially, we still do not know who actually approved the loan.

However, what is boggling the minds Nigerians and industry stakeholders’ is the silence and almost end to the crisis without a clear cut explanation to Nigerians.

Now some questions are begging for answers including can Nigerians take it hook line and sinker that there was really no N25bn contract in the first instance?

Are Nigerians certified with the hanging roles of Dr. Kachukwu as he; by NNPC Act cannot be part of any decision making on NNPC even though he remained a minister in the cabinet?

Again, is it that president Muhammadu Buhari will continue to merge his presidential office with that of the Minister of Petroleum when it is clearly stated in Section 138 of the 1999 Constitution as amended that “The President shall not, during his tenure of Office, hold other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever”.

By the provisions of the entire 1999 Constitution, Section 138 remains the smallest in terms of wording and content, but it seems being violated in the eyes of every Nigerian citizen since September 2015 the present cabinet was constituted.

Already, former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisah Agbakoba has dragged President Buhari to Supreme Court asking the court to interpret Section 138 in the eye of the law.

Analysts believe that it is only when Mr. President relinquishes the post of the substantive Minister of Petroleum and possibly raise Kachukwu to the office that he can assume powers to look into the activities of the NNPC.

For now, only the President can oversee NNPC and its activities. Unfortunately, observers say Mr. President has a lot on his hands and table to attend to and may not be able to really oversee NNPC. This playing scenario may create undue rooms for any form of use or abuse of office for the head of the corporation because the official monitor has little or no chance for such jobs.

It was not if it was the same scenario that is creating the rooms for NNPC to be involved in cases of remittances and non-remittances of certain funds to the federation account.

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