- The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the NNPC boss, Maikanti Baru, and suspend him, pending the outcome of the probe
- This follows the allegations of corruption leveled against the NNPC boss by the minister of state for petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu
- The group stressed that if left unaddressed, the allegations by Dr Kachikwu have the potential of undermining the Buhari administration’s expressed commitment to returning Nigeria to the path of transparency and accountability
- They advised the president not to stay quiet, but to use the case against Baru to show Nigerians that no form of corruption will be tolerated in the NNPC under his watch
Following allegations of corruption leveled against Maikanti Baru, group managing director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), by Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to probe the NNPC boss.
SERAP’s position was outlined in a letter which was written to the president on Thursday, October 5, and signed by its executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni.
In the letter exclusively sent to NAIJ.com, the group urged the president to refer the case to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC); and to suspend Baru, pending the outcome of the investigation.
The letter read in part: “SERAP is concerned that years of systemic corruption within the NNPC and looting of Nigeria’s natural resources have had uneven consequences against the vulnerable groups of the society, including the poor, women and children, perpetrating and institutionalizing discrimination, and jeopardizing the needs and well-being of future generations.
“If left unaddressed, the allegations by Dr Kachikwu have the potential of undermining your government’s expressed commitment to returning Nigeria to the path of transparency and accountability.
“SERAP believes that Mr Baru’s case presents your administration with yet another rare opportunity to reassure a lot of Nigerians who may be worried about the direction of travel of your anti-corruption agenda.
“Rather than keeping silent on the matter, we advise you to use this case to show to Nigerians that no form of corruption will be tolerated in the NNPC under your watch.
“SERAP also believes the recommended approach would help to address the growing public suspicion and pessimism about your government’s ability to fight high-level official corruption to a standstill, and to avoid any collateral consequences.
“It is absolutely important that the public should have complete confidence and trust in your administration’s oft-repeated commitment to fight corruption and the impunity of perpetrators.
“SERAP notes the recent allegations of corruption against Mr Baru by Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State of Petroleum and Chairman NNPC Board.
“In the letter to you, Dr Kachikwu alleged among others appointments and postings in NNPC without due process; award of contracts above $20m without following the legal and procedural requirements for such contracts including the Crude Term contracts- value at over $10bn; the DSDP contracts- value over $5bn; the AKK pipeline contract- value approximately $3bn; various financing allocation funding contracts with the NOCs – value over $3bn; and various NPDC production service contracts – value at over $3bn--$4bn.
“To assist the government to achieve this public confidence and trust, effectively spread the gospel of anticorruption, and be on the right side of history, SERAP asked Buhari to implement the following recommendations:
“1. Urgently refer the allegations against Mr Baru to both the EFCC and ICPC for further investigations, and if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence, for him to face prosecution.
“2. Pending the referral to the EFCC and ICPC, to suspend Mr Baru from his position as Group Managing Director NNPC, pending the outcome of any investigation by the EFCC and ICPC.”
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that the crises rocking the NNPC seems not to have touched Muhammadu Buhari as the president has so far refused to respond to the allegations of abuse of contract process to the tune of N9 trillion 24 hours after leakage of an internal memo which detailed the allegation.
Presidential spokespersons, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, reportedly did not pick or return calls, or respond to text messages in relation to the scandal, despite concerns raised by Nigerians over the allegations.
Former NNPC group managing director, Andrew Yakubu, in court over fraud allegations - on NAIJ.com TV: