The chairman of the Senate committee on petroleum (Downstream), Kabir Marafa, on Thursday protected the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, from answering a question on his relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari as Petroleum Minister.
Isa Misau (APC-Bauchi) had asked Mr. Kachikwu if he had unfettered access to the President.
President Buhari has recently come under fire over the ongoing fuel scarcity.
Majority of Nigerians who participated in an opinion poll asked President Buhari to resign as Minister of Petroleum Resources.
Demanding the minister of state to clarify the president’s efficiency in the position, Mr. Misau asked Mr. Kachikwu to explain his relationship with the president.
He specifically demanded the minister state whether he has direct access to the president, or whether his communication are intermediated by a third party as widely suspected.
However, Mr. Marafa who moderated the meeting did not allow Mr. Kachikwu to answer the question, saying it was ‘personal’ and not part of the issue on discussion.
He insisted the minister ignore the question.
Mr. Kachikwu complied by not making any reference to the issue in his responses.
He however gave a hint of difficulty in seeing the President.
“We just started a committee meeting which we started yesterday. We will go back when we leave here to go and finalise. It’s so urgent, so much that within the next one week, we should be getting something to the tip executives approval, includung the outstanding arrears issue that has bedevilled the industry. We will bring up memos and I’m sure Mr. President, this is as important to him as anything on his table right now and I believe we’ll be able to see him and get this done quickly.”
Mr. Kachikwu was, however, unable to state when fuel scarcity will end.
“I know that we have done a lot. The peripheral areas is still suffering a little bit but not as bad as it was. It is important for Nigerians that I’m telling them the truth, I swore to an oath. The reality is that we are doing the very best we can. We are going to get this away as soon as possible.”