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Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to step down as the substantive Minister of Petroleum over the alleged contract matter in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).


Apart from asking Buhari to sack self as a minister, Falana also called for the suspension of the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Maikanti Baru, to allow for a probe which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should handle.

The statement which is issued, on Sunday, stated, “The people of Nigeria were surprised last week to read the embarrassing petition of the Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, addressed to President Buhari pertaining to his inability to consult with the president and substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources and the unilateral award of $25 billion contracts by Baru.

“Although it was reported that Mr Kachikwu has since been given access to the president, the details of the discussions between the duo have not been made public. However, apart from sanctioning the officers responsible for creating the wide gulf between Mr Kachikwu and the president, the allegation of the unilateral award of contracts worth $25 billion by Mr Baru ought to be investigated in line with the anti-corruption policy of the Buhari administration.

Reacting to Falana’s call for Buhari to step down as petroleum minister, some lawyers said there is no constitutional backing for it, as anyone could occupy any position of choice.

An Abuja-based lawyer, Ugochukwu Osuagwu, said the call had no legal backing.

According to him, “let him read the NNPC Act 2007. Anybody can become the petroleum minister. Section 147 of the constitution backs this. The only snag here is that it requires confirmation by the Senate. Section 130(2) makes him the chief executive of the federation.”Mr Kole Ojo, Director of the Centre for Practical Legal Training, also supported this assertion but added that “I think combining that role with the Presidency is too much power and work on him and Falana may be making a positive point.”

Mr Kole Ojo, Director of the Centre for Practical Legal Training, also supported this assertion but added that “I think combining that role with the Presidency is too much power and work on him and Falana may be making a positive point.”

President Buhari has been called upon to investigate properly the award of $25 million contracts.
Former chairman, Lagos State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Captain Tunji Selle (retd.), made the call while speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, just as he also called on the National Assembly to investigate the scam and come out with a report and go ahead to do the needful.

The Action Democratic Party (ADP), on Sunday, came hard on an anti-corruption crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government, saying his government was only paying lip service to its war against corruption, which had been largely selective.

The national secretary of the party, Dr James Okoroma, who addressed newsmen at the party secretariat in Abuja, over the $25 billion NNPC contract scandal, said the national economy had collapsed under the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government.



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