Osinbajo denies approving NNPC Contracts while Buhari was away

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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday denied that he approved the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation contracts worth $25 billion when President Muhammadu Buhari was away on medical vacation.

According to Osinbajo, what he approved were financing loans and not contracts.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, the Vice-President made the clarification while answering reporters’ questions after the groundbreaking ceremony of the multi-billion naira Bonny-Bodo Road project, in Bonny, Rivers State.

Akande quoted Osinbajo as explaining 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 the IOCs, and not approvals for contracts.

“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 quoted the Vice-President as saying.

Osinbajo’s spokesman recalled that he had earlier in the day gave a similar explanation on his Twitter handle, @akandeoj.

Akande had tweeted, “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 incentivise much-needed fresh investments in the oil and gas sector.”

Meanwhile, the Pan Niger Delta Forum on Thursday called on President Buhari to urgently appoint a substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources to effectively run the activities of oil and gas industry in the country.

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