PRESS STATEMENT: CATBAN REACTS TO LEAKED MEMO TO PRESIDENT BUHARI BY HON. MINISTER OF STATE FOR PETROLEUM, IBE KACHIKWU

President Muhamadu Buhari

Citizens Action To Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN) is alarmed by the gravity of allegations by the Hon. Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Ibe Kachukwu, against the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, as contained in the Minister’s leaked letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Hon. Minister’s letter to the President, contained (among other things) allegations of illegal award of contracts in excess $25 billion (equivalent of N9 trillion), a sum far higher than Nigeria’s budget for 2017.

Following the outrage this leaked memo has generated in our country today, it is important to note that this incident and the resultant allegations are not issues that can be swept under the carpet or treated as internal affairs. CATBAN and other civil society organizations would be following up religiously to ensure we get to the root of the matter.

While we greatly appreciate those who leaked this memo bringing it to the knowledge of Nigerians the allegations of abuse of office & corrupt practices ongoing in NNPC as pointed out by the Minister, CATBAN would also want the Hon. Minister to explain to Nigerians, why he had to wait until contracts worth a whopping N9 trillion where illegally awarded before speaking up on the matter.

Additionally, we understand that the Presidency is yet to issue an official statement on this new scandal, but we are glad to inform them that the whole country and indeed the rest of the world are now watching the Nigerian government keenly on how this issue involving allegations of corruption in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration raised by one of his own Minister would be handled.

Nigerians are waiting to see whether the president will sweep this matter under the carpet like previous administration, descend on the whistle blower like its predecessor, or properly investigate the matter and hand over the culprit to anti-graft agency for prosecution.
This will test the seriousness of the anti-corruption battle of the administration.

While it is true that there exist another report dating back to March 2016 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the President through the office of the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, containing alleged infraction committed by the Minister through award of contract to his brothers Emmanuel Kachikwu and Dumebi Kachikwu, we believe that matter should be handled separately from this new development. This is because, it is our view that the March 2016 investigation by EFCC against the Minister MUST NOT and cannot be dragged into these fresh allegations against Mr. Maikanti Baru, because as at March 2016 when EFCC submitted its investigation to the Office of the Vice President, Mr Maikanti Baru was yet to be appointed as GMD.

CATBAN maintains that, if the Hon. Minister was not sanctioned based on the investigation conducted more than 18 months later, such investigation cannot be used to discredit the minister’s allegation against the GMD of NNPC.

We are therefore calling on the President to do the needful, by properly investigating the allegations against Mr Baru and handing over all culprits loosely related to this scandal to the anti graft agencies for proper investigation and prosecution.

Ibrahim Garba Wala
National Convener

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