These are not good times for the National Nigeria Petroleum Cooperation Group Managing Director NNPC GMD Mr. Makanti Baru as the days of his nepotic leadership and corrupt activities at the NNPC towers seems to be coming to an end.
According to information reliably gathered by AljazirahNigeria, the President might ditch the GMD over suspected fraudulent activities, abuse of office and his lackluster approach in dealing with Niger Delta crises, especially in the face of a new threat by the restive Niger Delta Avengers.
Another reason for Baru’s ordeal is his inability to strike a strong cohesion to douse the new agitations among militants from that Region.
A source who spoke to AljazirahNigeria said that since Baru was appointed the Group Managing Director, he snubs every suggestion from Niger Delta region on how to promote social cohesion, stability and seamless operations of oil and gas activities within the region.
Baru was said to have specifically given instructions that no Niger Delta person that is not loyal to President Buhari and APC should enjoy any oil and gas contract patronage, saying that doing so might be like providing them monies with which they will fight President Buhari’s reelection bid.
“Tribal sentiments have characterized the leadership of Baru. He hates everything about Niger Delta. There is a silent instruction to withdraw patronage and contracts from Contractors from Niger Delta and South East regions”
“Each paper for either payment or contract award is scrutinized to ensure that no board member of the company comes from Niger Delta or South East Region. He gives contracts freely to those who come from Northern Axis. He believes empowering them financially is a plus for him and the President as the resources would be used to further the President’s reelection bid”.
But things have changed for worse as this strategy has proved counterproductive. The Niger Delta Militants have threatened to resume destruction of oil facilities, thereby posing a serious economic and safety threat to the nation, especially President’s Buhari’s effort at persuading the Niger Deltans to support his reelection bid.
“Till date, Mr. Baru has never called any elder statesman or power broker from Niger Delta, describing them as Jonathan’s brothers who should not have a say in Buhari’s government. He tactically did not see it worthwhile to carry anyone from Niger Delta along.
The latest threat by Niger Delta Militants, especially the Niger Delta Avengers seems the last straw that broke Carmel’s back as an attack on oil installations may further erode investors’ confidence and further plunge the nation’s fragile economy.
On cases of corruption against Baru, some players in the oil industry who spoke with AljazirahNigeria said “we see the man Andrew Yakubu, former NNPC GMD, clearly. Same cannot be said of Maikanti Baru, current GMD. But the same pattern has played out on this front too. In 2014, when Yakubu was fired by former president Goodluck Jonathan, his offences were based on allegations of insubordination and fraud.
In 2017, however, Kachikwu, in his letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, also accused Baru of the same things: Fraud and insubordination. This was settled in-house, and Kachikwu backtracked, saying there was no fraud in the contracts.
NNPC contracts, with a total value of $25bn, “were never reviewed by or discussed with the board,” according to the letter published in local media.
One of the biggest graft scandals in Nigerian history came to light in 2014, when central bank governor Lamido Sanusi revealed that the equivalent of $18bn had disappeared from state coffers between 2012 and 2013.
Sanusi was removed from office, but the scandal and disclosures of large-scale looting of national assets were instrumental in the electoral defeat of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, in favour of Buhari, who fought on a clean-hands ticket.
Buhari’s critics say his anti-corruption campaign is targeting only opposition figures – a charge that is likely to carry weight in the light of the leaked letter.
His missive was dated from late August, though until now the public was unaware of its existence.
No visible action has been taken, and the NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Maikanti Kacalla Baru, whose governance of the oil giant is clearly in the memo’s firing line, remains in office.
“Under Baru’s administration the Cooperation has paid a whopping ₦1.4 trillion on subsidy per annum according to the minister of state for petroleum. This amount is almost twice what the Jonathan administration paid and yet President Buhari accused that administration of scamming the nation.
The payment of petroleum subsidies has been one of the most controversial actions of the federal government over the years; many Nigerians believe the government used the idea to carry out corrupt practices.
In May 2016, the administration announced that it was deregulating the petroleum downstream sector, which also meant the scrapping of subsidy payments. Consequently, the pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, was raised N86 to N145 per litre.
Osinbajo, at the time, explained to Nigerians that it was the best decision for the country, going forward.
“Amongst others, the downstream sector has been deregulated with the elimination of petroleum subsidy. This policy has removed from government, a burden of not less than N15.4 billion monthly,” Osibanjo said at an event in December 2016.
However, in April this year, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, who was a former Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said Nigeria pays about N1.4 trillion in what he called “under recovery” payments; this is just another term for subsidy.
“Nigeria presently incurs over N1.4 trillion till date as under-recovery or losses on the importation and sale of petrol. It is time for Nigeria to harness alternative fuel sources like (LPG) as under-recovery from the importation and sale of petrol at the government-regulated price of N145 per litre has hit N1.4 trillion,”
River State Governor Nyesom Wike had in the wake of some of those controversies condemned what he called, “the loud silence of prominent Nigerians on the embarrassing corruption scandal”, rocking the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and called for the immediate suspension of its Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru. Following the N9 trillion contract scandal that rocked the NNPC
And called for the immediate suspension of the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, is “expedient to give room for uncompromised outcome in line with the president’s declaration that no one will be exempted in the fight against corruption”.
- Under the leadership of Baru at the head of affair in the last three years in NNPC petroleum sector has continue to reel under various allegations of impropriety, as a whopping sum of $48.126 million appears to be at stake, as the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; NNPC has reportedly failed to adequately remit same to the federation account.