Famous Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), on Sunday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to refer the $25bn contract scam allegations levelled against the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for thorough investigation.
Mr Falana made the call in a statement released on Sunday.
He also said that, during EFCC’s investigation “into the grave allegations of the reckless contravention of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act” the President should place Baru on an indefinite suspension.
Mr. Falana further asked Buhari to relinquish the position of the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources due to the President’s “busy schedule” and appoint another Nigerian of proven integrity and competence to take up the position.
He described the allegations by Minister of State for Petroluem, Ibe Kachikwu against Baru as embarassig, condemning his refusal to consult with the President and substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources and “the unilateral award of $25bn contracts” by the NNPC’s GMD.
According to him, the officials who created the wide gulf between Kachikwu and the President should be punished.
The $25bn contract should be revoked once the EFCC investigation once confirmed that they were awarded without the approval of the NNPC Board, adding that the recent appointment of the heads of the parastatals in the oil and gas industry should be reviewed, Falana advised.
He said, “ Although it was reported that Dr. Kachukwu has since been given access to the President the details of the discussions between the duo have been not been made public.
“However, apart from sanctioning the officers responsible for creating the wide gulf between Dr. Kachukwu and the President, the allegation of the unilateral award of contracts worth $25bn by Dr. Baru ought to be investigated in line with the anti-corruption policy of the Buhari administration.
“In order to conduct a thorough investigation into the grave allegations of the reckless contravention of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act Mr. Baru should be placed on indefinite suspension while the presidency should refer the case to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.”