By Ben Agande
Kaduna—Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, and Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, to order over their public exchanges on the running of the country’s petroleum affairs.
In a statement issued at the end of its National Executive Council meeting in Kaduna, Wednesday, the forum noted that in view of the importance of the petroleum sector to the nation’s economy, the minister and the GMD should resolve their differences amicably in the interest of the oil industry and the nation.
The statement read: “The meeting expressed deep concern over the open altercations between Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and 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.
“ACF had earlier called on Mr. President to thoroughly investigate the matter by giving a fair hearing to both parties to know the actual facts in the interest of transparency in management practices of 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 concerned 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.”
On the call for restructuring of the country, the ACF 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.”
It, however, disclosed that the meeting agreed to set up a committee on restructuring that would 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.
The forum said “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.”
On the worsening infrastructure challenge in the country, the meeting 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, and the rapid growth in population without corresponding increase in infrastructure over the years.