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Family, associates mourn former NNPC GMD as tributes pour in

…He was an exemplary leader – NNPC …Classmates pay tribute A former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Kachalla Baru,…

  • …He was an exemplary leader – NNPC

  • …Classmates pay tribute

A former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Kachalla Baru, who died on Friday, has been buried in Abuja according to Islamic rites.

The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, who announced Baru’s death yesterday on his verified Twitter handled, described him as a leader with exemplary leadership qualities.

Though Kyari did not disclose the cause or the location where the former NNPC boss died in his tweet, a statement from the corporation later said Baru died in a hospital in Abuja.

The current NNPC GMD had said, “My brother, my friend and my mentor, Dr Maikanti Kachalla Baru, immediate past GMD of NNPC died late last night.

“He was of exemplary character and disposition. May Allah forgive him and have mercy upon him.”

The NNPC in an official statement by its spokesperson, Kennie Obateru, expressed regrets over the sudden death of its former head, describing him as “a consummate Mechanical Engineer, (who) died after a brief illness.

“Dr. Baru, a consummate mechanical engineer, died after a brief illness,” Obateru who is the NNPC Group General Manager Public Relations, said.

The statement said the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari expressed shock over the sudden death of Baru who was the 18th Group Managing Director of the corporation.


Sympathizers throng Baru’s residence in Bauchi

Residents of Misau town in Bauchi state the birth place of the late former Group Managing Director of NNPC Dr Maikanti Baru are still in shock and deep grief over the incident.

Hundreds of sympathizers including his friends, colleagues, traditional rulers, politicians, relatives and general stormed to his house in Misau shortly after the news of his death despite his burial in Abuja.

A nephew to the deceased, Alhaji Baru Abba, popularly known as Alhaji Karami, said that the death of Dr Baru has shaken Misau town since early morning as sympathizers thronged the house of the deceased including men and women to commiserate with the family.

“Since morning, we have been battling to control the crowd of people trooping to condole the family. We have kept many hands sanititizers in different locations and working with some first aid volunteers to prevent the congestion of people so as forstall the spread of Coronavirus,” said.

Abba explained that thousands of people from Misau and neighboring towns and cities including Bauchi who assembled in his house have observed special funeral prayers in absential (“Salatul Gaib”) at the Central Mosque beside the Emir of Misau palace. Similar prayers were held in his house in Jos, Plateau state.

Another relative of the deceased Garba Yakubu told Daily Trust on Sunday that his death has hold Misau town to standstill.


Northern govs, Bala Mohammed mourn

The Northern Governors Forum said it was shocked by the news of the death of the former GMD.

In a statement by the chairman of the Forum and governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, the governors described  the sudden death of Dr. Baru as a very big loss to the nation.

“The late Maikanti Baru was a thorough bred professional who distinguished himself in his career where he contributed immensely to the growth and development of the oil and gas industry. He championed the implementation of reforms that left the sector more responsive to the energy needs of Nigerians especially as it relates to the supply and appropriate pricing of petroleum products,” the statement partly read.

It also recalled the the former NNPC GMD played a key role in the exploration of crude oil in other parts of Nigeria, particularly the Northern region which only recently found oil and gas in commercial quantity that is awaiting further exploitation.

It conveyed the heartfelt sympathies of the forum to the family of the deceased, the people and Government of Bauchi State, the NNPC, as well as friends and associates of the late Baru, and prayed that the almighty Allah will receive the soul of the deceased, forgive his sins, grant him eternal rest, as well as comfort all who mourn him.

In the same vein, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state has described the death of Dr Maikanti Baru as a great loss not Bauchi and Nigeria but World at large.

A statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media Mukhtar Gidado, said, “Maikanti was a great and patriotic son of Bauchi who has contributed immensely in the exploring of oil in the Northeast of Nigeria. Bauchi State will never forget his landmark in building and renovations of schools in some parts of the state, in addition to man empowerment Programs and projects he initiated.”

“Late Maikanti has been instrumental in leading reforms that help in making the oil sector in Nigeria more viable, particularly ending long queues associated with fuel scarcity in the country,” the statement said.


Associates, classmates pay tribute

Also reacting, Technical Assistant, Media and Communication to the late Baru, Aliyu Abubakar, described the late former GMD as humble, amiable, kindhearted and “jolly good fellow”.

Abubakar, who worked closely with the late GMD for about three years at the NNPC, said he was a person who had foresight and vision.

Recalling some of the memorable encounters with the late former GMD, Abubakar said: “We once travelled to China with Dr Baru and I was talking with my wife but due to time zone, it was like seven to eight hours difference and Dr Baru overheard me talking to my wife in which she was complaining that it was 2 am Beijing time in China and we were still awake, saying what kind of work was that. That time, it was already early morning in Nigeria.

“My wife was complaining so Dr Baru said, ‘can I speak to her’. When he collected the phone, he told my wife, ‘my name is Maikanti Baru; we are very sorry’ we have hijacked your husband; very soon you will have him back. Can you imagine this kind of humility?

“Dr Baru is someone who will come down from the 11th   floor where his office was to greet staff even down to the cleaners and housekeepers. This is just to tell you on the human side and when it comes to work, he is just full of energy.

“We talking of somebody who will work from 9 am to 1 am and still return to work the next day. We are talking about someone who is far sighted. He has vision. He was the brain behind the oil exploration in the North East. Dr Baru was also behind the commercialization of a number of NNPC corporate businesses.

“I worked with him for three years. He has never known me but he selected some of us to come and work with him. I worked with him as Technical Assistant on Media and Communication. Dr Baru looks after his people and those that work with him regardless of your status.

He described him as “simple, quiet and intelligent young man”, adding it was huge loss to him, the NNPC family and the Oil and Gas sector.

“We will miss him. I can tell you even though he retired last year, a lot of people felt he is still not done with the Nigerian government. He still has a lot to offer. Unfortunately, death met him in his prime and we can only give glory to God that he has lived a fulfilled life. He was a man of God and very God fearing”, he said.

Similarly, Baru’s classmates at the Federal Government College, Jos, have paid glowing tributes to him, describing him as an excellent personality and worthy ambassador.

National President of the FGC Jos Old Students’ Magaji Michael, said the late Baru set a record at the FGC Jos scoring 9 A1 in his West Africa School Certificate Examination and equally moved on to distinguish himself in his future career.

According to him, the late GMD has been very supportive to his Alma Mata adding that he renovated 400-bed space hostel facilities for male and female students.

“Apart from the hostel project, he also helped in the renovation of the school clinic and fully equipped it with sophisticated gadget. He remains a legend that will never be forgotten. He was somebody who worked tirelessly for his country. He distinguished himself in the Oil and Gas industry. We extend our sympathy to all his family members and dear ones,” he said

Baru was born in July 1959, in Misau, Bauchi State and served as Group Managing Director of the NNPC between July 2016 and July 2019.


His achievements as NNPC GMD

While at the helm of affairs at NNPC, Baru recorded some achievements under his watch.

These include: maintaining production levels well above 2 million barrels per day; increasing crude oil production by NNPC flagship Upstream Company, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC); ensuring a boost in gas production to the extent that today, NNPC is the largest supplier of gas to power; and saving enormous financial resources through Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) scheme adopted for products import.

Others include: ridding government of huge financial commitments on cash-call commitment by developing workable alternative funding arrangements; devising sustainable teamwork between the Oil and Gas Industry and the numerous host communities in the Niger Delta to curb security challenges that had dipped crude oil production some years back; and instituting a regime of transparent contracting/bidding processes in all major projects.

The management during Baru’s tenure also reduced cost of crude oil production per barrel in the country from $27 to $22; explored opportunities in frontier basins to boost Nigeria’s reserves base and production; sustained petroleum products supply nationwide; and kick-started the current holistic rehabilitation of the nation’s four refineries to boost capacity utilization.

Before joining the NNPC, Mr Baru worked at the Jos Steel Rolling Company Limited between 1988 and 1991, where he occupied various positions, including the Head, Corporate Planning and Electrical Department.

At NNPC, he served in various positions before he was appointed the GMD of the NNPC in 2016.

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