The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has denied insinuations that a proposed dinner with lawmakers was to influence an on going investigation. Group General Manager (GGM) Public Affairs for the corporation Ndu Ughamadu said the meeting was a routine one it had with stakeholders. A similar one had been held with media personnel covering the petroleum sector. The meeting earlier, scheduled for Tuesday this week has been postponed.
Venue and timing are suspect
While the reasons behind the meeting are altruistic, the venue is suspect. The corporation would be better off having any such deliberations at the premises of the National Assembly. Legislators that are members of committees covering the petroleum sector, will also be privy to information pertaining to on -going investigations into the affairs of the NNPC, whose findings are yet to be released. One also wonders why the NNPC, which is under regulatory oversight of the National Asembly, should be hosting members to a dinner. Comparing the legislators to members of the press, also does not hold water.
What led to the investigations by NASS
The corporation had recently been embroiled in a war of words with Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu who accused the NNPC General Managing Director (GMD) Maikanti Baru of not following due process in the award of contracts. The corporation, in its reply called the allegations spurious, and denying awarding any projects. The exchange between both men, lead to the NASS launching an investigation into the affairs of the corporation. Kachikwu, has since back tracked on his allegations, merely saying the NNPC had not followed due process.