Logos lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), has demanded a probe into the allegation in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Falana called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to thoroughly investigate the $25bn contract scam allegations made against the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Maikanti Baru.
Before that, Falana said President Buhari should order the indefinite suspension of Baru pending the outcome of the investigation “into the grave allegations of the reckless contravention of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act”.
In a statement yesterday, the senior lawyer further called on Buhari to relinquish the position of the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources due to the President’s “busy schedule” and appoint another Nigerian of proven integrity and competence to take up the position.
Falana explained that doing so, would “remove undue pressure on the health of the President and allow him to attend to urgent matters of the state”.
He described as embarrassing, “the petition of the Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, which he addressed to President Buhari pertaining to his inability to consult with the President and substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources” and “the unilateral award of $25bn contracts” by the NNPC’s GMD.
It was also his position that officials who created the wide gulf between Kachikwu and the President should be punished.
The lawyer further called for the revocation of the $25bn contract once the EFCC investigation confirmed that they were awarded without the approval of the NNPC Board.
In addition, he called for a review of the recent appointment of the heads of the parastatals in the oil and gas industry.
According to him, “ Although it was reported that Dr. Kachukwu has since been given access to the President the details of the discussions between the duo have been not been made public.
“However, apart from sanctioning the officers responsible for creating the wide gulf between Dr. Kachukwu and the President, the allegation of the unilateral award of contracts worth $25bn by Dr. Baru ought to be investigated in line with the anti-corruption policy of the Buhari administration.
“In order to conduct a thorough investigation into the grave allegations of the reckless contravention of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act Mr. Baru should be placed on indefinite suspension while the presidency should refer the case to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.”