– Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has refuted claims that he approved NNPC contracts.
– According to him he only approved loans
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has distanced himself from the claim that he approved NNPC contracts when President Muhammadu Buhari was away on medical vacation.
Laolu Akande, Osinbajo’s media aide, in statement he issued late on Thursday said Osinbajo only approved NNPC’s financing loans .
Akande quoted Osinbajo as making the clarifications in Bonny, Rivers State, after the groundbreaking ceremony of the Bonny-Bodo Road project.
“These were financing loans. Of course, you know what the Joint Ventures are, with the lOCs (International Oil Companies) like Chevron that had to procure.
“In some cases, NNPC and their Joint Venture partners have to secure loans and they need authorisation to secure those loans while the President was away.
“The law actually provides for those authorisations. So, I did grant two of them and those were presidential approvals, but they are specifically for financing joint ventures and they are loans not contracts,” Osinbajo was quoted as saying.
In a series of tweets earlier on Thursday, Akande wrote: “In response to media inquiries on the NNPC Joint Venture financing arrangements, VP Osinbajo, as Acting President, approved the recommendations after due diligence and adherence to established procedures.
“This was, of course, necessary to deal with huge backlog of unpaid cash calls which the Buhari administration inherited, and to incentivise much-needed fresh investments in the oil and gas sector.”
However, this was reported in the media as an admission by Osinbajo that he actually approved some contracts for the NNPC, hence the need for the clarification.
Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, had written a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari, complaining about acts of “insubordination” by Maikanti Baru, the group Managing Director of the NNPC.
Kachikwu accused Baru of unilaterally taking important policy decisions, including appointments to key positions and award of contracts, without consulting the Board of the NNPC of which he (Kachikwu) is the chairman.
But the NNPC issued a statement denying the allegations and insisting that Baru had complied with laid down procedures in all his activities as the head of the corporation.