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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, are in sharp disagreement over an N827 billion oil contract.
This came as the NNPC insisted that the Corporation did not breach due process in the award of the controversial Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano, AKK, Gas Pipeline contract, which had earlier generated heat.
At the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, in Abuja, last Wednesday, Ibe Kachikwu told State House Correspondents that he had forwarded the controversial $2.7 billion (about N827 billion at N306.3 = $1) for approval.
‎Recall, that the contract had generated much tension in October, after a memo Kachikwu wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari, on August 30, 2017, leaked to the media.
In the memo, Kachikwu had alleged insubordination by the Group Managing Director, GMD, of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, accusing him of not following due process in the tendering for the contract.
When asked on Wednesday, to clarify why he had to again forward for approval the contract he had earlier accused the NNPC GMD of awarding to a Chinese firm, Ibe Kachikwu explained that it was meant to correct observed irregularities in the tender process, noted in his leaked memo to the President.
“What I complained about (in a memo to the President), was about due process not being followed in the initial approvals obtained, without seeking my concurrence or input”, Kachikwu said.

“What I did was an inverse approval process, which is post-the fact, by taking the details of the contact tender back to the NNPC Board, briefed its members, and obtained their buy-ins.
“Whatever is their (NNPC Board members) opinion, would be included in the recommendation by the Minister to the President, to guide his decision.
“Based on the President’s input as the full Minister, then the contract tender would go to FEC for approval for the final award. That is the due process of how things should be done”, he said.
However, on Saturday, the NNPC in a series of tweets through its Twitter handle, @NNPCgroup, apparently in reaction to the Minister’s explanations on Wednesday, ‎insisted it did not breach any due process, either in seeking approval for the AKK pipeline project contract tender, or any other contract it handled.
“It is therefore, most unfortunate the continued claim that there was an approval for the contract, and that it had to be represented to the #FEC again, to correct any infringement”, one of the tweets read.
The NNPC said its tendering process required that all contracts be presented for approval by the NNPC Tenders Board, NTB.
Where the contract is above NTB’s approval threshold of $20 million, it said the process would require a final endorsement by FEC.
Insisting the AKK pipeline contract tender followed due process, the NNPC pointed out that the tender for the contract was considered and endorsed by NTB, on July 12, for consideration by FEC.
“It was never approved by Mr. President, nor considered by FEC prior to 13th December, 2017”, it noted.

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