The head of Nigeria’s state oil company is organising a special dinner for federal lawmakers in what appears to be an attempt to curry favourable treatment from members of the National Assembly.
An invitation card seen by the Daily Times this afternoon indicates that dinner, at the behest of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, dinner is to happen tonight at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja by 7 pm and names the group’s spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu as its RSVP. It is not clear how many invitees one card admits.
The NNPC is currently embroiled in arguably one of its biggest scandals with increasing tension between the oil ministry and the company, which came into the public eye when a letter of complaint to President Muhammadu Buhari from Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s junior oil minister, dated 30 August was made public.
Kachikwu’s letter alleged that Baru had bypassed the company board on key decisions, including the allocation of contracts, and did not follow due process.
The minister also said Baru’s recent appointments should be suspended pending a review. Nigerian lawmakers had passed a motion calling for the allegations to be investigated, a situation which makes the dinner invitation to them all the more problematic.
The NNPC Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, has cancelled the dinner scheduled for Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja tonight for which his guests were to be members of the National Assembly, sources tell the Daily Times.
Baru is scheduled to appear before a Senate ad-hoc committee charged with probing corruption allegations made against him by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, concerning the award of certain NNPC contracts. Senator Omotayo Alasoadura said he and his colleagues rejected the invitation after it became public. It would appear that the leak of the invitation informed the senator’s rejection, and hence the cancellation of the dinner, the NNPC’s Twitter account noting that “all the @NASS [National Assembly] Core Committees relevant to the Oil & Gas Industry have agreed on Oct 31 (today) for the Dinner”. As at press time, there has been no official explanation given for why the dinner was organised in the first place.