By Onozure Dania
WARRI—Niger Delta Indigenous Movement For Radical Change, NDIMRC, an oil monitoring group which had earlier warned of plot to remove Dr Ibe Kachikwu as the Group Managing Director, GMD, of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari for his removal.
Kachikwu was replaced with the former Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production of the corporation, Dr Maikanti Baru.
NDIMRC had earlier alerted of pressure mounted by Northern interests led by Baru, to be made the GMD of the state-run oil firm, before President Buhari finally succumbed on July 4, 2016 when he removed Kachikwu from oil-rich Delta State as the corporation’s executive head.
The group in a statement by its President, Nelly Emma, kicked against the sudden removal of Dr Kachikwu as the GMD of NNPC by the President, describing it as unfair treatment not only to the hard-working technocrat, but to the entire people of the neglected oil rich Niger Delta region.
“The whole world is our witness that we raised alarm in April this year that Baru was desperate to be the GMD of NNPC and was mounting pressure on the President to sack Kachikwu and now we have been vindicated.
“We are sad over the unfair treatment of Dr Kachikwu by the President. The former GMD was committed to the total reform of NNPC of which Baru was against. By the sacking of the hard-working Dr Kachikwu and replacing him with Baru, it is now clear to us as a group and the whole world that the President is not serious about his promise to turn NNPC around for the better.
“The appointment of Baru by the President is not in the best interest of the nation, but to satisfy the interest of the North. The removal of Dr Kachikwu at a most sensitive time, has raised concerns among stakeholders in the region that the administration of President Buhari has remained adamantly unresponsive to the accusations by the militants that some of the local oil firms exploiting the hydrocarbon resources in the Niger Delta region and polluting the environment belong to non-indigenes of the oil producing communities.
“Last April, our findings revealed that the Adviser On Gas to the GMD of NNPC, was behind a devilish rumour that Dr Kachikwu was sacked.”
He has been very desperate to become the GMD of NNPC and we warned President Buhari to be wary of him, but the President never listened.
“It is unfortunate that the people of the oil-rich Niger Delta region are being treated this way. Dr Kachikwu brought a lot of changes into NNPC and the cabal in the oil and gas industry never liked him and rather than encourage him to do more for the sector, the President decided to do otherwise. The President has once again made a big blunder with the appointment of Dr Baru who never wanted the reforms of NNPC embarked upon by Dr Kachikwu.”
The group while accusing the new GMD of NNPC, Dr Baru as one of those who destroyed NNPC that Dr Kachikwu worked round the clock to bring back to life, said “Without apology, we want to say that Dr Baru do not mean well for the corporation. He is a spoiler and has been too desperate to become the GMD of the NNPC. Dr Baru has never liked the reforms in NNPC and such a desperate man should not have been allowed to head NNPC as he will ruin the place that Dr Kachikwu worked so hard to fix up. Dr Baru is not the best man for the job.
“President Buhari should have fired Dr Baru as suggested by us last April. The new GMD of NNPC has been working with oil cabal to frustrate the efforts of Dr Kachikwu, especially in his bid to make NNPC a better place. Dr Kachikwu ended the fuel scarcity caused by Dr Baru and his co-travellers and rather than give him a pat on the back for a job well done, he was removed by the President and replaced with desperate Dr Baru who has nothing to offer,” the group said.
Dr Baru’s appointment, the group said, raises questions as to whether he can lead negotiations to calm restive militants in the Niger Delta, who have renewed hostilities in the oil-rich region in a wave of attacks on oil industry installations.
The former NNPC boss, Dr Kachikwu, who for eight months had doubled as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and will now serve as the Chairman of the NNPC board, had led a Federal Government team last month to negotiate a peace deal with the militants.
“Only last month, the hard-working Dr Kachikwu against threat to his life and members of his family took a risky trip to the troubled Niger Delta region to see things for himself at the controversial Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Gbaramatu Kingdom, in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State and his visit brought hope to the hopeless people of the region.
“His trip to the area also helped to reduce the spate of attacks on oil facilities by rampaging militants.”
“The President should have honoured Dr Kachikwu for his hard work. We must say that we are disappointed with the choice the President made for the NNPC. Can Dr Baru take a trip to the Niger Delta region? As the new GMD of NNPC, can he plead with rampaging militants in the Niger Delta region to give peace a chance and they will listen to him? The choice of Dr Baru as the man at the helm of affairs in NNPC by the President is not the best.
“As an oil monitoring group, we are highly disappointed that the President decided to at this crucial time leave the affairs of the NNPC in the hands of Dr Baru who helped to destroy the corporation. We are not impressed that President Buhari in his bid to satisfy Northern Nigeria with more juicy positions at the detriment of the oil producing people of the Niger Delta region left the affairs of NNPC in the hands of a desperate Dr Baru, who will only sit in the comfort of his office in Abuja without thinking about the pains the oil producing people of the Niger Delta region are passing through,” the group stated.