05 October 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Ministry of Petroleum Resources has taken issues of media publication of a petition from the Minister of State, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, to President Muhammadu Buhari, which purports insubordination on the part of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru.
The details of the correspondence obtained by our correspondent in Abuja depicted a minister that is at loggerheads with the head of the most important parastatal under him, with the Minister going as far as complaining that Baru was “completely eroding” some of the reforms he introduced as head of the oil firm.
In an emailed statement to reporters last night entitled, “Publication of A Confidential Official Correspondence”, the Director of Press in Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Idang Alibi, charged that it is distressing that a confidential communication to the President on the performance of one of its parastatals would be made public.
According to the statement, “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 the following: 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.”
Alibi added that 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.
“The Ministry of Petroleum Resources remains focused on achieving measurable progress in the implementation of the ongoing oil sector reforms in line with the mandate of the President,” he stated.
In the letter, Kachikwu alleged that Baru had been sidelining the NNPC board.
He said, “Like the previous reorganisations and repostings done since Mr 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 letter read.
“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.
“Indeed, in anticipation of vacancies that would arise from retiring senior executives of NNPC, I wrote the GMD a letter requesting that we both have prior review of the proposed appointments. Not only did he 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 appointment and termination of senior staff prior to implementation. This committee was also not consulted.
“The open administration I introduced with your support in our year of pushing reforms, has been completely eroded. NNPC staff are afraid of contacting me for the fear of being punished, sidelined in appointments and targeted.
“The effect of the attitude of the GMD and the sidelining of the board is that there is a fear culture in NNPC.”
Kachikwu appealed to Buhari to intervene and “save the NNPC and oil industry from collapse arising from 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,” he wrote.