By Udeme Akpan
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has ordered that the bickering and embar-rassing public spectacle between the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director, GMD, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, must stop.
In fact, the President directed that sanity should prevail as he ordered a halt to any further washing of dirty linens in public.
Whereas Buhari met with Kachikwu, the GMD met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday.
Of interest to the President, sources privy to the meetings, held last Friday inside Aso Rock Presidential Villa, disclosed, are the compelling needs to tackle issues such as attacks on oil and gas facilities, funding of new projects and rehabilitation of refineries as well as implementation of Nigeria’s new petroleum policy in order to guarantee long term survival of the nation’s oil and gas industry.
The policy, a copy of which Sunday Vanguard obtained at the weekend, articulates a vision for the petroleum industry and sets policy goals, strategies and an implementation plan for the introduction of an appropriate institutional, legal, regulatory and commercial framework to resolve the barriers currently affecting investment in the sector.
It stated: ‘’It is intended that this policy will be reviewed and updated periodically to ensure consistency in Government policy objectives at all times. Once issued and gazetted, any policy position set out herein will bind Government officials unless and until amended or replaced by a formal restatement of policy duly gazetted by the Government”.
Last week, the country witnessed a strange development as contained in the confidential memo written by Kachikwu to Buhari, complaining about conducts he considered unbecoming of the NNPC GMD. Whereas the Ministry denied any knowledge of how the memo became a public document, the GMD kept a studied silence over the matter.
Details of the policy the President is more interested in, if and when implemented, industry experts say, would avoid the type of disturbing development in the country’s petroleum sector as was witnessed last week.