The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, has attempted to play down the enormity of his now-viral leaked memo in which he wrote President Muhammadu Buhari detailing serious disagreements with Maikanti Baru, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), describing it as merely part of regular internal routine exchanges.
In his reaction, Kachikwu described the leak and circulation of the internal memo as “distressing”, noting that the memo was merely part of routine exchanges he regularly shared with the president about “developments in parastatals under his supervision”.
The minister’s reaction was delivered by the spokesperson for the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Idang Alibi.
Alibi said the letter was aimed not at discrediting Baru but at “improving efficiency and deepening transparency in the oil and gas sector for continued investor confidence”.
This explanation comes hours after a three-page letter which Kachikwu wrote to Buhari on August 30 went viral.
Part of the statement read, “It is most distressing to the ministry of petroleum resources that a confidential communication to the President on the performance of one of its parastatals can be made public.
“The focus of the communication was on improving efficiency and deepening transparency in the oil and gas sector for continued investor confidence.
“It is noteworthy that the President has been fully supportive of the efforts of the Ministry to entrench good governance and accountability in the oil and gas sector.
“The Ministry of Petroleum Resources remains focused on achieving measurable progress in the implementation of the ongoing oil sector reforms in line with the mandate of the President”.
Kachikwu’s memo which sparked the controversy was dated 30 August and titled, “RE: Matters of Insubordination and Lack of Adherence To Due Process Perpetuated by GMD NNPC-Dr. Baru”. The memo had the reference number, (HMS/MPR/001/Vol.1/100).