Kachikwu, NNPC GMD In Power Tussle | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Kachikwu, NNPC GMD In Power Tussle

Posted: Sep 22, 2016 at 3:57 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Charles Okonji


Strong revelation has emerged that an uneasy state of affairs has pervaded the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over what is believed to be power tussle between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, who, going by the NNPC Act, is the chairman of the corporation, and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru.

Information gathered disclosed that, even before now, Kachikwu and Baru had never been at best with each other as the current Group Managing Director of NNPC was made to believe that Kachikwu shunted him, before his new appointment, to a position that was far less influential than his previous post he held.

Following this, Kachikwu, even when he was at the NNPC, was said to have battled with several cabals, who lobbied for his removal and leaked several reports against him, saying that his former position at NNPC was an imposition, while an old guard like Baru, who had spent between 25 and 30 years at the corporation, was left out of the position.

According to information gathered, Kachikwu and Baru had always had conflict of interest, which centred on the approach to resolve the Niger Delta crisis. While both of them agreed that the menace could wreak the nation’s economy and it should be curbed urgently, their approaches, it was learnt, were the issues of contention.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, it was learnt, had vehemently opposed the use of military force to tackle the Niger Delta crisis, but Baru highly favoured military action to tackle the Niger Delta militants.

Sources said Kachikwu, because of his option for dialogue to resolve the crisis, risked his life to visit the militants’ enclave and pledged that the Federal Government would definitely address the challenges of the oil producing region.

Within that period, restiveness in the region ceased, which made the nation’s oil production to pick up, but when the current Group Managing Director of NNPC came on board and with his visit to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Olonishakin, to canvass for military action, the Niger Delta Avengers intensified their attacks on oil facilities.

Baru, during his visit to Defence Headquarters, had appealed to the Nigerian military to secure critical oil and gas infrastructure and curb the losses incurred by the corporation due to the activities of oil thieves and pipeline vandals.

He disclosed that from January to May this year, almost 1,447 cases of pipeline hacking was recorded, which resulted to a loss of 109 million litres of petrol and 560,000 barrels of crude oil to refineries, posing a great threat to Nigeria’s economy and the implementation of the 2016 national budget.

He also told the Chief of Defence Staff that over 3,000 vandalism incidents were recorded every year from 2010 to 2015. In 2015 alone, pipeline losses of premium motor spirit (PMS) volume of over 643 million litres valued at over N51.28 billion was incurred.

Baru had said: “The 2016 national budget plan was based on 2.2 million barrels per day of crude oil production. However, the budget plan is now grossly impacted due to renewed militancy with about 700, 000bpd of oil production curtailed due to pipeline vandalism.

“Along with this menace is the incessant case of kidnapping of personnel and piracy in areas of operations. Other impacts of these despicable acts include loss of lives, high cost of operations, refinery shut down, fuel crisis and large scale environmental degradation and attendant cost of oil spill clean-ups.

“Domestic natural gas supply to power has equally been impacted with estimated drop of about 50 percent from 1400 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmscfd) to barely 700mmscfd resulting to significant power outage exposure of between 2500 megawatts and 3000 megawatts as a result of direct and indirect impact,” he stressed.

Though there was no clear information why Kachikwu could not attend the recent meeting of former Group Managing Directors of the NNPC, which was chaired by Baru, it was learnt that the Minister of State for Petroleum was represented by his Senior Technical Assistant, Engr. Johnson Awoyomi.

A source said that Baru, having risen through the ranks at NNPC, was too steeped in the intrigues of the corporation, which is described as a political party, where a lot of staff considered their personal interests first when there was an investment pie on the table.

According to him, when Kachikwu arrived at NNPC, the problems that dogged the corporation for 20 years, which included corruption, high-handedness, bureaucratic incompetence and deliberate disregard for solutions, were largely addressed.

Kachikwu addressed the subsidy challenges, the operatorship stalemate at the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, which is the upstream arm of NNPC, refinery downtime and the opacity around NNPC’s retention of monies earned from crude oil sales, among others.

However, the Group General Manager, Public and Government Affairs of NNPC, Mallam Garba Deen Muhammad, told Independent that he had no idea of any power tussle between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the Group Managing Director of NNPC.

Muhammad said: “Sincerely, I do not have any idea about anything like that. Quite frankly, I do not know.”