The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja. The closed-door meeting which was held inside the president’s office at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa lasted about an hour and 10 minutes. The minister arrived President Buhari’s office at 11.40am and left at 12:50pm.
The meeting held as the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, also yesterday visited Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at his office.
Baru was sighted at the vice president’s office at about the same time President Muhammadu Buhari was meeting with Kachikwu.
Our correspondent gathered that the meetings were not unconnected with Kachikwu’s allegations of insubordination and humiliation against Baru.
Kachikwu went into the meeting alone, but was thereafter accompanied out by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
When approached by journalists on what transpired at the meeting, the minister said: “No comment!” and hurried away.
After leaving Osinbajo’s office, Baru headed for the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, and later joined President Buhari for jumaat service at the Presidential Villa mosque.
Kachikwu had in a leaked letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari dated August 30, 2017, accused Baru of insubordination and humiliation, and excluding him and the board of the NNPC from the management of the corporation.
He also accused Baru of deliberate violation of due process in the award of contracts in the corporation, informing the president that against the rules, some over $25bn contracts Baru awarded were never reviewed or discussed with him or the board of NNPC, which he chairs.
The Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) has called for caution on the current disagreement between Kachikwu and Baru, describing it as diversionary and political.
The National Chairman of the union, Comrade Salmon Oladiti, in a statement yesterday warned against unnecessary politicization and promotion of entrenched interests in the oil industry to the detriment of the nation.