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By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo Thursday broke his silence on the allegation of illegal award of joint financing contracts by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, against the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, admitting that he approved the contracts in accordance with laid down procedure.
The vice-president’s admittance however was in contradiction to the allegation by Kachikwu that all the contracts were awarded in violation of due process. On the other hand, the admittance seemed to affirm the submission of Baru on Monday that due approval was sought for the contract awards by the corporation.
Kachikwu, had in a leaked letter dated August 30, 2017 and addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, alleged that Baru awarded contracts to the tune of $25 billion and simultaneously made senior executive appointments without due consultations with the Board of the NNPC as required by law.
But the vice-president’s admittance Thursday laid to rest a substantial part of the allegation by the minister that the contracts were awarded without a recourse to the Board of NNPC which he chairs in alleged violation of the NNPC Act.
It also laid to rest the report circulating that Buhari had approved contracts to the tune of N640 billion while on his sick bed in London despite handing over to Osinbajo as acting president at the time.
The allegation had generated huge controversies in the polity, moreso that Kachikwu alleged that Baru awarded the contracts without following due process, describing it as a deliberate attempt to undermine his office.
However, Osinbajo who was the acting president when the contracts were awarded insisted that he approved the contracts “after due diligence” had been complied with and in accordance with laid down rules and regulations.