5th October, 2017.

Benin City, Nigeria….The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has called on the National Assembly to, as a matter of urgency pass the Petroleum Industry Bill, so as to nip in the bud further confusion generated by the rift between the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, over allegations of inappropriateness in the allocation and award of contracts in the oil sector.

NNPC GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu

While applauding the Senate for moving quickly to unravel allegations of inappropriateness leveled by the Minister of State, ANEEJ Executive Director, the Rev David Ugolor said that the response of Mr. President concerning the allegations of disregard for due process in the award of contracts by the NNPC GM, would define the perception of the reforms which have been going on in the oil sector.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and President Buhari

‘Since the Senate has waded into the matter, we suggest that Mr. President as well must invite the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI, to carry out a comprehensive and forensic audit of the allegations. Among statutory functions of the NEITI include the regulation of matters related to due process in the award of contracts in the extractive sector of the Nigerian sector. We believe that the inconsistencies being thrown up by the startling revelations from the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources include some of the issues which the Petroleum Industry Bill seeks to address and redress’, the Rev Ugolor has pointed out.

Eager to forestall the present rift between principal actors in the Nigerian oil sector, and act as catalysts for the passage of the PIB, ANEEJ wrote an online petition thus: The present administration since inception has defined itself first through its corruption stance, and more by the reforms it has introduced in the oil sector. It scrapped the opaque oil swap which made it possible for individuals within government to line their pockets with millions of dollars and has replaced it with the Direct Sale, Direct Purchase scheme.

‘That lofty plan of Direct Sale, Direct Purchase stands in jeopardy if all the contracts that have been awarded and the companies they have been awarded are not subject to thorough vetting and investigations by both the Senate and the NEITI’, the Rev Ugolor said.

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