By Michael Eboh
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Tueday, denied trying to influence members of the National Assembly and subvert the planned probe of its activities and its Group Managing Director, Mr. Maikanti Baru, by the senate.
The NNPC, in a series of tweets on its official Twitter handle, said the dinner with members of the Senate and House of Representatives, earlier scheduled to hold Tuesday, October 31, 2017, was part of its routine stakeholders engagement which began since April this year.
The NNPC said, “The attention of the NNPC Group has been drawn to online publication claiming it has organized a ‘Special Dinner’ for national assembly Nigeria members, following plans to investigate Dr. Maikanti Baru over Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe kachikwu’s memo.
“NNPC Group wishes to state that the dinner was part of the Corporation’s routine stakeholder engagement which began since April this year. In April this year, NNPC Group had organized similar stakeholder dinner for publishers, editors and correspondents based in Abuja.”
The NNPC stated that the dinner for members of the National Assembly had been earlier scheduled for the same April, but was postponed because the lawmakers were on recess.
The corporation further noted that the dinner was later rescheduled for May, but was postponed once again to the bereavement of Baru, who lost one of its family members.
The NNPC said, “The dinner was to hold in July this year, again due to unavailability of the lawmakers as a result of Sallah break, it was called off. It is important to note that all the national Assembly Core Committees relevant to oil and gas industry have agreed on October 31 for the dinner.
“Unfortunately, the lawmakers have been slated to have an engagement with the Presidency today. Thus, the dinner has been called off today.
“Having been slated since April and postponed due to circumstances, the dinner could not have coincided with the National Assembly’s investigation on the Group Managing Director.”
The Senate had earlier in October, agreed to instigate a probe into the accusation of insubordination and abuse of due process as raised by Kachikwu against Baru.
The Senate also resolved to investigate Kachikwu’s call for the cancellation of the recent appointments in the NNPC, while it also agreed to carry out a holistic investigation into the finances and activities of the NNPC.
The decision of the Senate to probe the allegations raised by Kachikwu against Baru was sequel to additional prayer by Senator Kabir Marafa, APC, Zamfara Central during a discussion on a motion by Senator Samuel Anyanwu, PDP, Imo East entitled, ‘Allegation of Corruption against NNPC Trading: Time to conduct a holistic investigation.’