In an August 30, 2017 letter leaked to the press, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, accused the GMD of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru of insubordination and humiliation.
According to PUNCH, in the letter, titled “Re: Matters of insubordination and lack of adherence to due process by the GMD NNPC – Dr. Baru,” Kachikwu said Baru has been sidelining him and the corporation’s board (of which Kachikwu is chairman), making appointments and awarding contracts without due consultations.
“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,” Kachikwu said.
PUNCH reports that Kachikwu told Buhari that he’s been tolerating the disrespectful and humiliating conduct from Baru for one year and decided to bring it to his (Buhari’s) notice.
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.
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 said.
Kachikwu listed what he wants the president to do. He said:
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.
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.
“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.
Reacting to the leak, Idang Alibi, Director of Press in the ministry 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.