Appointments of Malam Mele Kyari and Mr Umar Ajiya to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd), have nothing to do with their careers in the old NNPC, according to Mr Garbadeen Muhammad, Chief Corporate Communications Officer of NNPC Limited.
In a statement on Wednesday night, Muhammad said before their new appointments, Kyari and Ajiya were Group Managing Director (GMD) and Group Executive Director, Finance and Account (GED, F&A), respectively, with the old NNPC, revealing that those ranks ended in line with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) provisions and Appropriate Government Circular.
Muhammad was reacting to an erroneous online report which alleged inappropriateness in the disengagement of Kyari and Ajiya from the old NNPC and their subsequent appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari to new tenures in the new NNPC Limited.
In the new NNPC Limited, Kyari was named the Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Ajiya as the Chief Finance Officer (CFO).
“The appointment of CEO and CFO is not a career posting as erroneously presented online,” Muhammad emphasised.
He said: “The general public may recall the passage of the PIA 2021 and the successful transition of the old NNPC to a commercially-driven National Energy Company, the NNPC Limited.
“The PIA 2021 has, in addition to the creation of NNPC limited, made clear and unambiguous provisions relating to Governance, Administration, and the appointment of a CEO, a CFO and Board of Directors by Mr President,” he said.
He explained that the PIA 2021 was deliberate about the long-term sustainability of the 20 years long petroleum industry reform that climaxed in the creation of NNPC Limited as a commercially-driven National Energy Company, with focus on sustainable value creation.
He said pursuant to the provisions of the Act, appointments of the CEO and CFO of NNPC Limited by the President was on the basis of distinct terms and conditions of service, including tenure, employment benefits and termination.
He said specifically, section 59(3) of the PIA 2021 had clearly stipulated the conditions to be considered in appointing the CEO and CFO of NNPC Limited without recourse to previous employment ranks in the old NNPC,
He further said that the previous rank of GMD or GED F&A was therefore not a consideration in the appointments of the CEO or CFO of NNPC Limited.
“Consequently, by virtue of the appointments of Malam Mele Kyari and Mr Umar Ajiya as NNPC Limited Group CEO and CFO respectively by Mr President for a tenure of five years each with effect from September 16, 2021, the duo has ended their employment with the old NNPC.
“They are therefore entitled to their terminal benefits in respect thereof.
“Based on the provisions of the Act, the new tenured roles they assumed with NNPC Limited cannot be regarded as continuance of their previous positions in the defunct NNPC,” Muhammad said.
For further clarity on the misrepresentation of the facts, he recalled that the Circular issued by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, dated July 27, 2009, had explicitly stated that appointments as Chief Executives of Government-Owned Companies are “tenured appointments”.
He further stated that in respect of such tenured appointments, career officers who wished to take up such appointments shall retire from service, in order to run their tenure uninterrupted.
According to him, the circular recognises a distinction between a tenured appointment to serve as Chief Executive of a government-owned company, as distinct from a career office.
He said public service rules required termination of any fixed career appointment to take up a tenured role.
“It is therefore our belief that the informed general public will disregard the misinformation and misrepresentation of facts published online.
“NNPC compensation does not pay gratuity into billions and we are a compliant organisation that is committed to delivering greater value to Nigerians in strict compliance with extant laws and circulars,” he said.
According to him, the Group CEO and the CFO have demonstrated patriotism by ending their career appointments with the old NNPC to serve the nation on five years tenured appointment in the new NNPC Limited.
He advised the public to disregard the spurious and malicious publications while the company would take necessary legal steps to seek redress.