Dr. Maikanti Baru (L), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu (R)
The meeting was the President’s response to the reported dispute between Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, over the latter’s alleged award of $25 billion contracts without deference to the minister.
Investigation conducted by our correspondent revealed that President Buhari met with Kachikwu while Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had audience with Baru in a different meeting.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The President took time to review all the issues raised in the August 30 memorandum. The points were considered one by one.
“They met for about an hour with the President listening and taking notes.
“And the minister, who used the opportunity to restate his high regard for the President, explained how the GMD had been treating him with disdain over what he wrote in his memo.
“He also said he was not out to sabotage the Federal Government under any guise.”
Findings however revealed that the GMD of NNPC met separately with Vice President Osinbajo.
The source said: “I am aware the GMD also came to have audience with the Vice President.”
There were indications yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari might invite members of the board of NNPC to a meeting following revelations that they had “intervened” in the crisis of confidence between Kachikwu and Baru some months ago.
It was learnt that the President would find out from the board members if the disagreement over the contracts was actually brought to their notice.
A government source added: “There is no way the President will not hear from the board members. The Minister alleged that he was sidelined and in over one year of Baru’s tenure, no contract has been run through the board.
“The GMD of NNPC is adamant in maintaining that every transaction was reported to the board, whether on or before the inauguration of the board. He has cited minutes of board meetings.
“It is now left to the President to hear from board members on what actually happened.”