By SaharaReporters, New York
President Goodluck Jonathan appears to be maneuvering to discredit the report of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, which was headed by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
His attack dog, Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said the report appeared to be the work of “certain quarters” to “disparage the genuine efforts of the President to bring sanity and cleanse the Nigerian oil sector once and for all.”
One of the major terms of reference of the committee, he said, was “to work with consultants and experts to determine and verify all petroleum upstream and downstream revenues (taxes, royalties, etc) due and payable to the federal government of Nigeria” but this aspect of the committee assignment, he claimed, was left undone.
“Unfortunately and most regrettably, this paramount duty of the PRSTF committee could not be accomplished as stated in paragraph four of the covering signed by chairman Ribadu and Secretary of the committee.
Paragraph four reads: “The data used in this report was presented by various stakeholders who made submissions to the Task Force… Due to the time frame of the assignment, some of the data could not be independently verified and the Task Force recommends that the government should conduct such necessary verifications and reconciliations”.
The presidential assistant noted that the implications of the report’s paragraph four was that the committee has issued a disclaimer to their own report which will now make it “impossible under our laws to indict or punish anybody except and until the federal government fully verifies and reconciles the facts as recommended by the committee in its submission to the government”.
He also condemned the politicization of the report and obvious attempt in certain quarters to disparage the genuine efforts of President Jonathan to bring sanity and cleanse the Nigerian oil sector once and for all.
Okupe opined that unfortunately, Ribadu to some extent advertently or inadvertently encouraged this negativism by his claims on his Facebook page that he resisted overtures to make him compromise the report. He challenged Ribadu to make public those that wanted him to doctor the report.
“His claim of an overture to him to compromise the report is perfidious and false. We respectfully enjoin Mallam Ribadu to be patriotic enough to name the proponents of this compromise. If Ribadu claims that by serving on the committee he is on the side of the Nigerian people, on whose side is President Jonathan whose idea it was in the first place to set up the Task Force and approve the appointment of Mallam Ribadu as chairman of the committee.
Okupe further condemned the leakage of the report to Reuters and other international news media before it was submitted to the President on Friday.