- Denies approving the multi-billion contracts
- Only signed financing arrangements
The Vice President has denied ever approving any of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) controversial contracts worth up to $26 billion, while in the Acting President capacity.
This is coming against the backdrop of revelation by the Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru that President Muhammadu Buhari signed most of the jumbo contracts to the tune of almost $700 million while on his sick bed in London, United Kingdom (UK).
Read also: Buhari approved N640 billion oil contracts from his sick bed in London, NNPC chief Baru indicates
Baru had in a statement in response to the Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu’s memo to Buhari, asserted that the Minister has no supervisory powers over the award of contracts by Nigeria’s oil sector regulator.
But Osinbajo who was the Acting President when most of the contracts were signed has in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President; Mr. Laolu Akande, on Thursday, distanced himself from the deals.
“Approached by reporters after the ground-breaking multi-billion Naira historic Bonny-Bodo road project, in Bonny, Rivers State, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, explained specifically that the approvals he granted to the NNPC while he was Acting President were for financing arrangements for the Joint Ventures between the corporation and IOCs, and not approvals for contracts,” part of the statement read
Osinbajo was quoted to have said: “These were financing loans. Of course, you know what the Joint Ventures are, with the lOCs, like Chevron, that had to procure. In some cases, NNPC and their Joint Venture partners have to secure loans and they need authorisation to secure those loans while the President was away. The law actually provides for those authorisations. So I did grant two of them and those were presidential approvals, but they are specifically for financing joint ventures and they are loans not contracts”.
Akande stressed that he had earlier on Thursday, tweeted on the same matter: saying:
“In response to media inquiries on the NNPC Joint Venture financing arrangements, VP Osinbajo, as Acting President, approved the recommendations after due diligence and adherence to established procedures. This was, of course, necessary to deal with huge backlog of unpaid cash calls which the Buhari administration inherited, and to incentivize much needed fresh investments in the oil and gas sector.”