Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stated the level of his involvement over the alleged $25billion Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation contracts which Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu said were awarded arbitrarily.
Approached by reporters after the ground-breaking multi-billion Naira historic Bonny-Bodo road project on Thursday, in Bonny, Rivers State, Vice President Osinbajo explained specifically that the approvals he granted to the NNPC while he was Acting President were for financing arrangements for the Joint Ventures between the corporation and IOCs, and not approvals for contracts.
Said he: “These were financing loans. Of course, you know what the Joint Ventures are, with the lOCs, 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.
His Special Adviser, Media and Publicity Laolu Akande, who issued the statement even added: “Earlier today, I had tweeted on the same matter thus:
“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 incentivize much needed fresh investments in the oil and gas sector”.
Kachikwu had said in a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari, which was leaked, that the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, ran a bravado organisation, awarded contracts illegally and engaged in frivolous appointments.