Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo and his media aide, Laolu Akande have differed on whether what Osinbajo approved for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that has since generated into a national controversies was contracts or loans.
While Akande who is Osinbajo’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, said that the Vice President approved contracts for NNPC, the Vice President has come out to say that what he approved were two loans for the NNPC and not contracts.
Akande said that the contracts were approved after due diligence by the Vice President when he acted as President recently, explaining that Osinbajo approved the recommendations for the contracts as part of necessary actions to deal with the backlog of unpaid cash calls and incentivise investments.
Akande said that Professor Osinbajo made the clarification in view of media inquiries that followed NNPC’s claim that the contracts were indeed approved by Osinbajo.
“In response to media inquiries on NNPC joint venture financing, VP Osinbajo, as Ag President approved recommendations after due diligence & adherence to established procedure.
“Action necessary to deal with huge backlog of unpaid cash calls which Buhari administration inherited and also to incentivise much needed fresh investments in the oil & gas sector,” Akande had tweeted.
However, answering reporters’ questions today, Thursday, shortly after the ground-breaking multi-billion Naira Bonny-Bodo road project in Bonny, Rivers State, Vice President Osinbajo said 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 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 authorization to secure those loans while the President was away. The law actually provides for those authorizations.
“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.” [myad]