Facts have emerged as to why the aggrieved Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, reported the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, to President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a leaked letter that appeared on social media on Tuesday, Mr Kachikwu urged the president to take actions on allegations of illegal practices, insubordination, among others.
“Parastatals in the ministry and all CEOs of these parastatals must be aligned with the policy drive of the ministry to allow the sector register the growth that has eluded it for many years” Mr. Kachikwu’s letter read in part.
“To do otherwise or to exempt any of the parastatals would be to emplace a stunted growth for the industry.”
Mr Kachikwu noted that Mr Baru had also been disrespectful of him as minister overseeing the corporation.
But industry insiders told DAILY NIGERIAN that Mr Kachikwu was angry that Mr Baru reports directly to the president, who is the Minister of Petroleum.
“Baru has access to the president more than most ministers, including Kachikwu himself. He has the president’s listening ears and he confides in him,” a source who preferred not to be named.
The source said Mr Kachikwu was also not happy about the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas project contract awarded by the NNPC.
In May, the NNPC awarded the construction of the gas pipeline to China Petroleum Group Engineering, CPGE.
The source said the project, which was dear to Mr Buhari, may bring the acute energy challenge in the North to an end and lead to springing up of moribund industries in the region.
“In the whole allegations, there is none on corruption. Kachikwu is angry that Baru has direct access to the president,” said another senior oil industry player.
“Baru was the last person Kwachikwu wanted to succeed him as GMD of NNPC, and he made unsuccessful attempts to stop his appointment.
“When Kachikwu was appointed as GMD, Baru was Executive Director in charge of Exploration and Production. But he demoted him to the position of Technical Adviser on Gas.
“With Kachikwu’s stern opposition to Baru’s appointment, I believe Baru has been magnanimous enough to retain all the Chief Operating Officers appointed by Kachikwu.”
Idang Alibi, spokesman for Mr Kachikwu could not be immediately reached for comment.
He had earlier released a statement, owning up the leaked memo but denying that the leakage emanated from the ministry.