A coalition of civil right activists based in the nine states of the Niger Delta region on Monday sent a warning letter to the inspector-general of police, Ibrahim Idris, and the director-general of the Department of State Security (DSS), Lawal Musa Daura over the leakage of the controversial memo on jobs and contracts in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, alleging that the leakage was a clear attempt to incite Nigerians against President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to the coalition, though President Buhari has met with the minister of state for petroleum, Ibe Kachukwu, the source of the leakage should be investigated and those behind the leakage of the eight-page official memo should be arrested and prosecuted.
The group, under the aegis of the Niger Delta Activists Forum and led by Comrade Success Jack (Convener), Prince Emmanuel Omoniyi and Efe Elliss, argued:“It is shameful for us as a nation to be witnessing this gross display of disservice to Nigeria and its public service sector. Ordinarily, the memo in question is supposed to be a classified communication between a junior and senior minister and in this case the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“How did the letter get leaked to the public? Whose interest does the leakage serve? Why are the perpetrators of the leakage in so much of a hurry to vilify the person and character of Maikanti Baru even when the logic doesn’t apply? Is the leakage good for national security? We hereby call on the Director General of the Department of State Security, the Inspector General of Police and all security agencies to fish out the source and brains behind the leakage.
“Secondly, some disgruntled political characters have over the past forty-eight hours spared no effort in drawing on easy sentiments, ethnic bigotry and geographic chauvinism in trying to incite violence against federal oil and gas facilities in the region.
“We have resisted frantic attempts to spill southern bile against the state using Mr. Maikanti Baru as their excuse and would continue to galvanize efforts to resist such attempts.
“We also want to send a clear warning to all those who think they can use this incidence as an avenue to execute political misgivings against individuals or state to desist forth with or face the consequences.
“Painfully, this unwarranted media hype and insinuation of corruption given to a letter that merely seeks clarifications from a senior minister, is one that goes a long way to demark the oil and gas industry in Nigeria with ripple effects on Nigeria as a whole.
“This will no doubt deal a hard blow on global confidence in Nigeria’s oil and gas transparency quotient as it very naturally constitutes a most vicious device against foreign direct investments into the sector.
“It is, however, our opinion that the national security adviser and all security agencies quickly liaise with regulatory bodies of the media for better management of this matter to forestall further incensing of the general public.”
On the allegations contained in the memo, the coalition stated” “After a thorough perusal of the said eight paged memo, certain facts can easily be established; that going by details of the memo, award of all the jobs and contracts in context totaling $25b actually went through the NNPC tenders board (NTB) thereby fulfilling due process but the frown comes from the fact that Dr. Maikanti Baru never brought it before the board and its chairman for approval.
. “It is, however, instructive to note that Dr. Ibe Kachikwu is chairman of the board based on authority delegated by Mr. President but such delegation of authority in no way diminishes the legality of Mr. President exercising those same powers, more so when he still remains the senior minister.
“It is also important to state for emphasis that procurement requirements in cases such as this emphasizes approval from the senior minister. Again, it would be understandable for the senior minister to handle such matters under this schedule through capable and qualified aids”.
“It, however, appears to us that necessary links to reconcile records of accents between the junior and senior minister are missing. While not been apologetically biased in favor of any of the parties involved, the missive in nuance admits adherence to due process when it talked about the NTB.
“The beauty of the NTB, is that it has as members the COOs and CEOs of the subsidiaries who are seasoned technocrats and major authorities in the industry. Finally, if these contracts were ratified and approved by Mr. President or FEC headed by Mr. President as is the case here, then it should put a definitive end to these rather futile attempts to paint Mr. Maikanti Baru in bad light by uninformed members of the public.
“On issues of insubordination and appointments raised by the honorable minister, we want to observe that the seeming likelihood here again is one that cannot wear the tag properly owing to the fact that you still have a senior minister who is effectively in charge as clearly stated by the Nigeria constitution and until he has denied consent to these issues, only then can any wrong doing be adduced or established.”