Kachikwu's memo: NNPC denies seeking soft landing for Baru, as senators decline invitation for dinner
– The leaked memo of Dr Ibe Kachikwu to President Muhammadu Buhari is still a hot topic across Nigeria
– The minister of state for petroleum had written the president alleging insubordination on the part of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) boss, Maikanti Baru
– A Senate committee had been constituted to look into the issues raised, but a dinner invitation for the committee members recently raised eyebrows
The NNPC has said its dinner with members of the Senate and House of Representatives earlier scheduled to hold on Tuesday, October 31, was part of its routine stakeholders engagement.
According to the corporation, the engagement began since April before Dr Kachikwu’s memo became an issue.
It denied reports that the corporation was trying to get a soft landing from the legislators by organizing the dinner.
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“NNPC wishes to state that the dinner was part of the corporation’s routine stakeholder engagement which began since April this year,” a statement posted on the corporation’s Twitter page said.
“In April this year, NNPC had organized a similar stakeholder dinner for publishers, editors and correspondents based in Abuja.
“Same month (April this year), similar dinner for NASS was to follow, but it was postponed because the lawmakers were on recess.
“It was later moved to May this year, but was again shifted due to the GMD’s bereavement. The dinner was to hold in July this year, again due to unavailability of the lawmakers as a result of Sallah break, it was called off,” the statement said.
The statement further said all National Assembly core committees relevant to the oil and gas industry had agreed on Tuesday, October 31 for the dinner, before the lawmakers last minute engagement with the presidency on the same day, which meant it was called off.
Before the NNPC cancellation, Nigerian Twitter had gone berserk accusing the corporation of trying to influence the legislators.
Many saw the invitation as a way to influence the legislators to back off its probe of NNPC activities.
An aide to the Senate president, Bamikole Omisore, was however quick to shut down the rumours, saying the senators invited had rejected the invitation.
Recently, some media reports had alleged that the presidency has initiated moves to ensure the NNPC boss, Maikanti Baru, is not indicted by the Senate ad hoc committee charged with investigating him for awarding contracts to the tune of $25 billion without recourse to the NNPC board of directors.
A source quoted in the report however said President Muhammadu Buhari met with the committee chairman to lobby the committee to give Baru a soft landing.
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