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NNPC Scandal Senate reportedly under pressure to drop probe

Some 'powerful' Nigerians have reportedly asked the Senate probe panel to suspend the inquiry or ensure "soft-landing" in its report.

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Kachikwu meets Baru at the Economic Summit play

Kachikwu meets Baru at the Economic Summit

The Ad Hoc Committee investigating the alleged $25 billion contracts scam involving the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the  Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, is reportedly being pressured to drop the probe.

According to The Nation, some 'powerful' Nigerians have asked the Committee Chairman, Aliyu Wammako to suspend the inquiry or ensure "soft-landing" in the panel's report.

Some other stakeholders in the oil and gas industry are said to be lobbying the leadership of the Senate to stay action on the matter due to "convincing clarifications" by the Presidency.

They claim there is nothing to investigate again.

It is believed that the pressure is the reason the committee has not started sitting since it was constituted by the Senate on October 4.

It was also gathered that lobbyists have in the past weeks trailing Wammako to his residence in Asokoro District.

"These bigwigs actually wanted the Senate to suspend the probe. But the chamber said since the issue was already in the public domain, it will not be good for the image of the Senate", The Nation quoted a source as saying.

"The battle has shifted to the Senate Ad Hoc Committee. Some of these lobbyists have either asked Wammako to either stay away from the probe or work towards a "soft-landing" investigation and report.

"In one breath, they claimed that since the Presidency and NNPC had made convincing clarifications that there was no contract awarded, going into the allegations contained in the Minister’s memo will be chasing shadows.

"They alleged that since the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru have reconciled, there is nothing to probe.

"This is the real reason why the committee has not been able to sit. The chairman and members are really under pressure," the source said.

On August 30, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari about an alleged infractions by Baru.

ALSO READ: NNPC says Osinbajo approved the $25bn controversial oil contracts

In the memo, he also alleged that the GMD makes major decisions unilaterally without recourse to the NNPC board, which is headed by the minister.

Following the public outrage caused by the leaked memo, which apparently portrayed the Buhari administration in a bad light, the President summoned Kachikwu and Baru separately.

Consequently, the two held a reconciliation meeting in Abuja, where they were seen shaking hands and laughing together as if nothing ever happened.

As a result of this, many Nigerians and the opposition accused the Presidency of trying to sweep the matter under the carpet.

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