By Dapo Akinrefon
Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources, Downstream, Hon. Danlami Mohammed Kurfi, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to sanitise the oil and gas sector in the light of the current feud between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru.
Addressing a press conference in Lagos, Mohammed said it is only a non-partisan resolution of the issue that can sustain the integrity of the corporation.
According to him, those reading ethnic or political meanings into the feud are apparently ignorant and mischievous; adding that whatever has happened between the two was largely administrative concerns.
He said: “I think Kachikwu should sit down with the NNPC GMD and sort out issues relating to his roles and duties as a Minister of State. By now, he (Kachikwu), should know that he is not the only Minister in the oil and gas industry, the president is also a minister there.”
The lawmaker, who represents Dutsin- ma /Kurfi Federal Constituency of Katsina State noted that, “I also think that the NNPC GMD was right when he said that there was no law requiring him to review or discuss with the minister of state or the NNPC board, matters relating to the approval of contracts.
“What the law stipulated was for the processing and approval of contracts by the NNPC Tenders Board, the president in his executive capacity or as a minister of petroleum, or the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“Whatever he is complaining of now apparently happened when he was GMD of NNPC because he wields so much power then, but now, that influence has been reduced.
“I have it on good authority that the majority of the appointments Kachikwu made as GMD were largely outside of the NNPC; he brought in people from foreign oil companies to head units in the corporation. Aside that, those appointments, 13 in number, discarded the federal character principle.
“I think the president should set up a committee to investigate the matter and perhaps, let the two of them step aside. The president should listen to both sides and not just one of them.
“This is a litmus test case for this administration and I have complete trust in Mr. President that he will dispense justice and restore sanity to the corporation. Aside this, the president as the minister should investigate the activities of some oil companies” he said.