The Conscience of the Niger (TCN), a new socio-political movement on the horizon, has reacted to a report by 10exclusive, an online news portal, accusing the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu of N3.8billion fraud, saying the allegations were not only unfounded but the handiwork of power hawks and mischief makers, who were determined to discredit and blemish the oil minister for obvious reasons.
10exclusive had reported recently that President Muhammadu Buhari on his sick bed has been having sleepless nights over Kachikwu’s management of the ministry and that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo’s recent visit to London was not unconnected to issues in the petroleum ministry, especially allegations of corruption against the minister.
The report also claimed that Kachikwu had been using his younger brother, Dumebi Kachikwu as front in many deals, adding that the one that created the current crisis was a N3.8 billion allegedly collected by Dumebi in exchange for a marginal oil field in the Niger Delta waters. Against this backdrop, the news portal reported that the president had concluded plans to sack Kachikwu.
But in responding, leader of TCN, Mitai Okeroghene, said the attempt to discredit Kachikwu was an advanced and well-intended plot by some persons within the corridors of power, who had become uncomfortable with some of the feats he has recorded in the ministry despite the challenges that paved his way and were poised at making his job impossible.
Specifically reacting to some of these allegations, Okeroghene said “First, there were no marginal fields granted by Kachikwu or anyone since the Muhammadu Buhari administration came on board and as such, the allegations remain the figment of the imagination of those behind the attacks against Kachikwu.”
Continuing, he contended that the power to grant marginal field resided with the minister of petroleum, in which case, the president and not the minister of state, adding that the attacks, as far as he was concerned, was a subtle attempt to discredit the president and not even Kachikwu.
“But unfortunately for them, a man of Dr. Kachikwu’s standing, who did so much to institute transparency in the oil sector and with enviable international pedigree could not succumb to such corruption rascality. So, those trying aimlessly to blemish the person and credibility of the minister need a review of strategy.
“One would have expected that people, who believe in the veracity of their accusations, would rather show their faces by taking a direct report to the appropriate agencies with sufficient facts to carry out its investigation. Indeed, the whistleblowing policy of the federal government creates an incentive for this, so, why resort to blogs to blackmail the minister.
“We are not unaware that all these attacks are not unconnected to the purported cabinet reshuffle and until the planned reshuffling is over, these faceless jobbers, whose whole lives revolve around corruption and blackmail, will continue to target Dr. Kachikwu for being too drastic in his resolve to salvage the oil industry,” he said.
He, therefore, maintained that the “attacks on Dr. Kachikwu are the orchestrations by some powerful persons in the system and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), who are determined to see that Kachikwu is shown the way out, because they are uncomfortable with his cutting-edge reforms in the ministry.”