BY Isaiah BENJAMIN, Kaduna
The apex northern sociocultural group Arewa consultative Forum (APC) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to thoroughly investigate the open altercations between the Minister of State Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Dr. Maikanti Baru over allegations of contract award by giving a fair hearing to both parties in order to know the actual facts in the interest of transparency in management practices of NNPC.
ACF in a communique issued at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting which was signed by its National Publicity Secretary Muhammad Ibrahim Biu said, “the meeting expressed deep concern over the open altercations between the Minister of State Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Dr. Maikanti Baru over allegations of contract awards bordering on managerial imperfections and acts of insubordination made by the Minister against the Group Managing Director.
“Consequently, the Management of NNPC responded to the allegations by the Minister, claiming that it was transparent in its actions and did not breach the extant laws of the NNPC.
“However, the meeting notes with regret the continued accusations and counter accusations by the two public officers, which are precisely avoidable and unnecessary, considering the important role of the Petroleum industry under their watch to the nation’s economy.
“ACF, therefore, appeals to President Buhari to call the officers concern to order, or better still let the Minister and the GMD resolve their differences amicably in the interest of the oil industry and the nation”.
According to the communique, the meeting which was presided over by the Chairman, Alhaji (Dr.) IGP Ibrahim Ahmadu Coomassie also observed with concern the bad conditions of the nation’s road network, rail trucks and other facilities as a result of pressure on the facilities due to old age, lack of proper maintenance, the rapid growth in population without corresponding increase in infrastructure over the years.
“ACF therefore, calls on the government at all levels to intensify their efforts by making adequate budgetary provision for the resuscitation and maintenance of the overstretched facilities particularly in the North and the country in general in order to facilitate economic growth.
“The alarming rate of drug addiction among the Youth in the country, particularly in the North is disturbing and worrisome. The figure of about 3m youth said to be involved in illegal consumption of drugs is frightening, considering the dire health effects such consumption would have on the future generations of Nigerians. Consequently, the meeting agreed to set up a committee that will critically examine the remote and immediate causes of this menace and suggest practical solutions to the problem.
“The meeting observed with keen interest the ongoing nationwide agitations for the restructuring of the Nigerian Federation, in view of what many claimed that the present democratic system as being practiced is unnecessarily expensive and counter productive to our economic growth and development, considering that about 70% of our annual budget is being spent on recurrent expenditure.
“Furthermore, there have been claims of marginalization by one section of the country against the other, which have created anxiety, fear and mistrust among the various components of the Nigerian project. Unfortunately, most of the agitations are not based on facts.As a result they threaten our national cohesion by generating more heat than the needed light.
“It is in this regard that the meeting agreed to set up a Committee on Restructuring that will examine all aspects and suggest a common perspective on what represents the interest of the North within the Nigerian project without prejudice to other national interest”.
ACF further reiterated its position that any restructuring meant to improve the unity, peaceful coexistence, stability and balanced development of the country that comes with social justice be based on justice, fairness and equity to all.