Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has met with Minister of State Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, at the presidential villa over Okpai and Zabazabafields as well as opening of escrow accounts and cash call issues.
Kachikwu disclosed this to State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting, yesterday.
According to the minister, the meeting was all about “a meeting on upstream, a normal typical meeting. It was largely AGIP bringing some information to the vice president on where they have been in terms of Okpai, in terms of Zabazaba Deepwater oilfield, in terms of the cash call exit which they are doing with NNPC.
“It was basically updating him, asking for areas where they need some assistance from government officials to sort of fast-track.
“It was normal, upstream meeting.”
Asked what was the extent of cash call discussed, the minister replied: “We did only to the extent that a few completion items on NNPC, largely the opening up of escrow accounts and that type of stuff which they need to fasten up on. But, we are far gone on that.
“Installmental payments are already going on, I think NNPC is undertaking by October or early next month to complete that whole process. So is going on very well.”
Kachikwu and Baru had, two weeks ago, engaged in name calling over allegations of insubordination and unapproved award of $26 billion contracts against the NNPC GMD, by the minister.
Senate was supposed to have begun investigation into allegations of corruption against NNPC Trading Limited, a subsidiary of the national oil firm, which was accused of awarding a questionable petroleum importation contract.
The probe is yet to take off.
The lawmakers had also resolved to probe allegations of insubordination and unapproved award of $25 billion contracts against Baru, by Kachikwu.
Kachikwu, in the petition had alleged that the NNPC boss had repeatedly sidelined and disrespected the NNPC board, which is chaired by the minister, among other alleged misdemeanours.
To resolve the misunderstanding, Kachikwu said President Muhammadu Buhari had urged himself and Baru to work together, to remove doubt and rift.
“Mr. President is a decent man and what he wants to achieve in this country is to live a legacy for posterity.
“He is a sincere leader, so nobody should accuse him of engaging in fraud.”
The Presidency had clarified that the vice president, approved two loans for the NNPC and not contracts.
Presidential media aide, Laolu Akande had said the approvals referred to were actually for financing arrangements in replacement of the traditional Joint Venture Cash Call obligations. He said while President Muhammadu Buhari approved NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture Project, the Vice President approved the NNPC/Chevron Accelerated Upstream Production Project and NNPC/Shell/Total/Agip Joint Venture Accelerated Upstream Production Project, while he was acting president.