…As group alleges plan to hijack it
From DENNIS MERNYI, Abuja
Notwithstanding President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive that the controversial report of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force (PRTF) be submitted to him on Friday, there are strong indications that the report may have been hijacked by the Presidency, through the Petroleum Ministry.
President Jonathan had, in a statement on Monday, in Abuja, by his media aide, Dr. Rueben Abati, denied the said Presidential directive report, stressing that he was not under pressure from any quarter to rubbish the Ribadu-led PRTF report.
However, it was gathered that the Petroleum ministry had, immediately after receiving the report from Ribadu, briefed the President and expressed concern on some critical aspect of the document with potentials of damaging the image of the government, telling him of plan by the ministry to set-up another committee to vet the report, so as to remove recommendations that may embarrass government ministry officials and oil companies.
Daily Sun gathered further that, almost three weeks after the report was presented to the minister, nothing was heard about it from the committee, “a development that forced its chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, to leak it to the foreign media to frustrate plans by government to render the work useless,” a reliable source from the ministry has disclosed. Meanwhile, it was gathered that some members of the panel have been accusing Ribadu of leaking the report to the media for selfish reasons.
To this end, the source disclosed that, “a group within the task force team has resorted to attempt to blackmail their chairman, Nuhu Ribadu alleging that he acted alone in all decisions concerning the receiving, reviewing, revising and submission of the report to the minister. “Ribadu indeed thought it wise to rush to the public with the findings of the report even though, some people would want to fault him on the process or procedure but the fact remains that Nigerians now have the opportunity to know how much government officials and their cronies cannot allow corruption to give way in the country,” it said.
Faulting the position and disclosure by Anthony George Ikoli, a member of the panel and former Bayelsa State attorney general and Justice commissioner, the home state of President Goodluck Jonathan and Petroleum minister, Diezani Alison Madueke, that the committee’s assignment was factual yet to be definitely concluded, he said “it is a complete disservice to the government and the people of Nigeria under whose mandate they were asked to serve.”