The remains of the erstwhile Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Kachalla Baru, who died on Friday night, was laid to rest in Abuja yesterday morning according to Islamic rites.
Daily Nigeria gathered that the family of the former NNPC boss did not want a crowded funeral ceremony in compliance with government’s directives on COVID-19 safety rules.
Baru, the 18th NNPC GMD died at the age of 60 from an undisclosed ailment. He would have been 61 in July.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari, expressed sadness over the death of Baru, who he noted worked very hard to initiate reforms in virtually all departments of the corporation, bringing it up to speed with global trends and best practices.
Buhari acknowledged Baru’s contributions to ensuring stability in the oil sector in Nigeria, with a more guaranteed supply and predictable price regime that weakened unscrupulous parallel marketers, especially during festive seasons.
Expectedly, Baru’s demise threw his successor, Mr Mele Kyari and staff of the national oil company into mourning. In a tweet, upon learning about the death of his predecessor, Kyari described late Baru as his “friend, brother and mentor and a man of exemplary character and disposition.”
Reacting to news of the demise of the former NNPC GMD, Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, said Baru was a great and patriotic son of Bauchi State who contributed greatly in exploring for oil in the North East part of Nigeria.
“Bauchi State will never forget his landmark in building and renovating schools in some parts of the state in addition to the many empowerment programmes he initiated.
“Late Maikanti was very instrumental in leading reforms that helped to make the oil sector in Nigeria more viable, particularly ending long queues associated with fuel scarcity in the country.”
In a statement in Abuja, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, described as painful the passing away of Baru, stating that he gave his best to the country, especially during his tenure as the GMD of NNPC and would be remembered for his contributions to the upliftment of the NNPC.
Gbajabiamila prayed Allah to grant him Jannatul Firdaus and give his family the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.
Also, OPEC said Baru’s death was a huge loss to the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
The organisation’s Secretary-General, Mohammed Barkindo, disclosed this in a condolence message released in Abuja.
This is as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said he received the news of Baru’s passing with shock and sadness.
In a statement from his ministry, he described the former NNPC GMD as a dedicated technocrat who would be greatly missed by the oil and gas community and the country at large.
The Northern Governors Forum in a statement signed by its Chairman and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong, said Maikanti Baru was a thoroughbred professional who distinguished himself in his career where he contributed immensely to the growth and development of the oil and gas industry, adding that he championed the implementation of reforms that left the sector more responsive to the energy needs of Nigerians.
Governor of Niger State and Chairman, North Central Governors Forum (NCGF), Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, who also expressed shock at the news of the passing of Baru commended his support to Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University (IBBU), Lapai, in the institution’s ongoing exploration for hydrocarbon in the Bida Basin.
Also eulogising the deceased, an engineer and former President, Association of Professional Women Engineers (APWEN), Felicia Agubata, said Baru a great father, leader and mentor, who was passionate about girl-child education and women empowerment. He was a true professional and a great supporter of APWEN.”
Also speaking, immediate past Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Baru’s predecessor at the NNPC. Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said: “I just learnt about the demise of Dr Maikanti Baru, immediate past GMD of NNPC. Dr Baru was a member of the NNPC board which I chaired from 2016 to 2019.
“Last month, I called to find out how he was settling down in retirement. I felicitated with him and his family. He expressed his appreciation and I wished him well.
“Sad to learn about his death. My sincere condolences to his loved ones. I pray that God grants his family and close friends the fortitude to bear the loss. May his soul rest in peace.”
Also, in his condolence, Mr. Henry Ikem-Obih, immediate past Chief Operating Officer, Downstream of the NNPC, described the death as a sad loss, while he prayed for strength for Baru’s family.
In his own submission, immediate past Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said: “May God rest his soul. Dr Maikanti Baru, was a nice and hardworking boss that discharged his official responsibilities with professionalism laced with fear of God.
He achieved a lot for the oil industry and Nigeria at large. He was one of the best GMDs of NNPC and one of the best bosses l worked with. A goodman is gone. An intellectual Library is gone beyond. May God rest his soul.”
Speaking further, Professor Wumi Iledare, who currently heads the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Professorial Chair in Oil and Gas Economics and Management at the Institute for Oil and Gas Studies, University of Cape Coast, Ghana, said: “This world is a stage and everybody is a player. He has played his part to the best of his ability. May the good Lord comfort his family.”
Furthermore, in a statement in Abuja, the Executive Council, members and staff of the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA), condoled with the NNPC group and immediate family of Baru over the sad news of his death.
Baru served as the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from July 2016 to July 2019. Upon assumption of office, Baru introduced the Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) scheme in 2016, under which selected overseas refiners, trading companies and indigenous companies were allocated crude supplies in exchange for the delivery of an equal value of petrol and other refined products to the NNPC.
Baru hailed from Misau, in Misau Local Government Area of Bauchi State. He obtained his West African School Certificate in 1978 with distinction aggregate 06 from the Federal Government College, Jos, Plateau State and later bagged a First Class Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1982.
He also attended the University of Sussex, the United Kingdom where he graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in Computer-Aided Engineering in 1987.
Baru was a fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers and Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reconstitution of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), after the expiration of the term of the board members appointed in 2016. The new board will be in place for three years.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement said that members of the new board are: Mohammed Lawal (North West), Tajudeen Umar (North East), Adamu Mahmood Attah (North Central), Senator Magnus Abe (South South), Dr Stephen Dike (South East), and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South West).