The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has launched a company-wide crackdown on officials accused of leaking internal documents to the public, Peoples Gazette can report, in a desperate attack against transparency and accountability in public service.
Three officials were suspended in February on allegations of disclosing restricted internal communications of the energy sector regulator, coming barely days after the Gazette exposed how officials of President Muhammadu Buhari were favoured with lucrative positions for which they lacked the requisite educational or vocational background to exert.
A letter obtained by Peoples Gazette, dated February 23, 2021, conveyed the directive of DPR’s chief executive — in league with the agency’s management board — to indefinitely suspend the accused personnel pending the conclusion of an internal probe on the matter.
Obianuju Akwunwa of the DPR’s public affairs unit, and another staff member identified as Moedu B.O., were wrongfully singled out for retribution by the oil and gas regulatory body. The Gazette also obtained the first draft of the controversial suspension letter that went to Ms. Akwunwa, who could not be reached for comments.
A third official, identified as S.H. Hussaini, deputy manager, personnel information, promotion and discipline, was also suspended, days after he signed the suspension letter of Ms. Akwunwa, the Gazette learnt.
Although the Gazette learnt from officials at the DPR that the three officials were suspended, the Gazette was only able to obtain the suspension letter of Ms. Akwunwa, which nonetheless confirmed the rage of DPR’s management officials and their blinded ambition to quietly punish innocent officials for a story they had publicly denied as untrue.
It was also unclear whether or not the two other officials were also suspended indefinitely like Ms. Akwunwa.
The misguided administrative reprisals came one week after the Gazette exposed how President Muhammadu Buhari appointed his junior media aide Bashir Ahmad to supervise the newly-established National Production Monitoring System (NPMS) — a powerful and lucrative division at the DPR on February 15.