President Muhammadu Buhari was granting approvals for oil deals to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation during the time he was on his sick bed in London – and when he had relinquished presidential powers to his Vice President – the head, Maikanti Baru, has indicated.
The N640.8 billion contracts were approved when Mr. Buhari was receiving treatment for undisclosed ailments in London, and when he was not supposed to be exercising presidential powers, having named Vice President Yemi Osinbajo acting president in a formal correspondence to the National Assembly.
On August 21, the president notified the National Assembly of his return in writing, saying he had “Resumed” his “Functions as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with effect from Monday, 21st August, 2017.” THE CONTRACTS But on Monday, Mr. Baru revealed that Mr. Buhari had been exercising presidential powers by granting approvals for NNPC joint venture contracts when he was supposedly on his sickbed and not exercising presidential powers.
Mr. Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, had in an August 30 memo to Mr. Buhari said Mr. Baru unilaterally approved contracts without recourse to him or the NNPC board, amongst other concerns.
A look at the dates of the three contracts shows that two of them received presidential approval on dates Mr. Buhari was not in the country, July 31 for the second contract with Chevron Nigeria and July 10 for the contract with Shell.
Mr. Baru’s name was placed against the contracts as the person who administered the contract in his capacity as the Group Managing Director of the NNPC. Ibe Kachikwu Only the September 1, 2015, contract which Mr. Kachikwu oversaw during his tenure as the GMD of NNPC received presidential approval on a date Mr. Buhari was in the country and wielding presidential powers.
GETTING OSINBAJO’S CONSENT In his memo to Mr. Buhari, Mr. Kachikwu stated that when Mr. Buhari was unwell in London for several months between May and August, Mr. Baru tried to get direct approval from Acting President Osinbajo for some personnel changes at the NNPC. But Mr. Osinbajo asked Mr. Baru to go back to Mr. Kachikwu and get his input and approval first before making the changes.