Kachikwu/Baru feud: PDP, SERAP call for suspension of Baru, Buhari meets minister today

Barring any last minute change in plan, President Muhammadu Buhari will, on Friday (today), hold a crucial meeting with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

This is the first one-on-one meeting Buhari will be having with the minister since a letter Kachikwu wrote to the President on the conduct of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, was made public.

It will also be the first time the minister will be meeting the President, who is the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources, since Buhari returned from his medical trip on August 19.

Kachikwu had stated in the letter that he resorted to writing the letter after several unsuccessful attempts to meet the President personally since he returned to the country.

The minister accused Baru of insubordination and sidelining him and the board of the NNPC in the award of contracts as well as failing to follow due process.

“Hopefully, the President will be meeting the minister on Friday. The meeting is scheduled to hold before Juma’at service. The meeting will hold between 11.30am and noon,” a source in the Presidency told one of our correspondents on Thursday.

Another government official, however, told The PUNCH that the meeting was originally conceived to afford Kachikwu the opportunity of briefing the President of general developments in his ministry.

The source added that although the meeting could have been scheduled before the content of the letter was made public, there was no way the President and the minister would meet and the issue would not come up.

“You can see that the Minister of Transportation met with the President today (on Thursday) to brief him (the President) on the activities in his ministry. The Minister of Mines and Steel Development also had his turn recently.

“That’s the same way Kachikwu was scheduled to have his turn. But of course, there is no way this burning issue will not be discussed at the meeting,” he said.

The source said he was not aware if Baru had been scheduled to meet the President any time soon.

Baru is one of the top government officials who regularly participate in Juma’at service in a mosque located inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
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