Efforts to resolve the controversy caused by the recent letter written to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on the activities of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, got underway on Friday with series of meetings at the Presidential Villa.
While Buhari met with the minister for about an hour on the matter in his office, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo also met separately with Baru.
The NNPC boss also met with the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, before joining Buhari and other Muslim faithful for the Juma’at service inside a mosque located near the President’s office.
Kachikwu who was accompanied to the Presidential Villa by an aide who was clinching an office file arrived for the meeting around 11.40am.
He however met the President alone.
The minister left the premises at about 12.50pm without answering questions from reporters who had laid siege to the office while the meeting lasted.
“No comment,” Kachikwu simply said as he made his way out of the seat of power.
About the same time he was meeting the President, Baru was meeting Osinbajo at the Vice-President’s Wing of the Presidential Villa.
After the meeting with Osinbajo, the NNPC boss proceeded to the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.
Baru, who is one of the top government officials who always participate in Juma’at service inside the seat of power, later proceeded to the mosque for the prayer session.
As of the time of filing this report, the Presidency had yet to make any formal pronouncement either on the rift or on the President’s meeting with Kachikwu.
When asked what transpired at the meeting between the President and the minister and the steps being taken by the President over the accusation against the NNPC boss, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, simply said “no comment.”
A source told our correspondent that presidential spokesmen were under strict instruction not to make any comment on the matter.
“You know events are just still unfolding. They can’t be talking now,” the source said.
Our correspondent also learnt that Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, who is one of the President’s loyalists reportedly met with Kyari late on Thursday.
The source said the issue might have come up during the brief meeting.
The minister had in the letter to the President 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.