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$25bn contract scandal: Group demands arrest of NNPC GMD

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By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

Center for Social Justice (CSJ), an anti-corruption and civil rights group, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately suspend the GMD of NNPC Dr. Maikanti Baru. The Center also asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] to conduct an investigation on the allegations of $25 billion doubtful contracts raised by the minister of state for petroleum resources, Dr Ibe Kachiukwu against the NNPC boss.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by CSJ lead director, Eze Onyekpere, the group said the allegations against Baru were weighty and should not be treated with kid gloves. “These allegations are weighty and if they are true, constitute serious crimes and acts of economic sabotage. It would not be difficult to establish if NNPC had held board meetings since Dr. Maikanti Baru’s tenure and, if meetings have been so held, the agenda of such meetings, finding out the person(s) who took decisions on appointments that were contrary to laid down procedures would also not be difficult to establish.

“If a prima facie case is established, the offender(s) should be prosecuted and the full weight of the law brought to bear on them. President Muhammadu Buhari should rise to the occasion and ensure that the EFCC moves expeditiously to investigate these weighty allegations; consider suspending the alleged official(s) from office to avoid tampering with evidence and sabotaging investigations.”

Onyekpere noted sadly that in the past many Nigerians have alleged that the federal administration remains silent when serious allegations are made against its key officials. He recalled the ‘grass cutting scandal’ involving the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the benumbing silence following the submission of the report of the committee headed by the vice president to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We hope that law enforcement and investigation agencies would live up to the demands of their statutory and constitutional mandates,” he maintained.

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