Monday, 29 October 2012

Ribadu Report: ‘We’ll investigate cover-up allegation – Senate

Following the shocking exposure of rot in the country’s oil sector made in the leaked report of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force, chaired by Malam Nuhu Ribadu, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Senator Nkechi Nwogu, has assured Nigerians of the Senate’s readiness to investigate the purported rot and allegation of an official cover-up immediately it reconvenes from its short break.
Fielding questions on phone, yesterday during a phone-in radio programme tagged ‘ Factfile’ on Raypower fm, Nwogu, representing Abia Central Senatorial district, described the report as quite “revealing and shocking”, and the Senate will look into it further.
According to her, the legislators are concerned that among other areas where monies have been identified as belonging to the Nigerian government, revenue received from the gas sub-sector is questionable and grossly inadequate.
“Especially, we at the committee have always questioned revenue received so far from the gas sector as grossly inadequate as we believe that Nigeria deserves to receive more money than what has been shown or presented in the appropriation account”, she maintained.
On the issue of a move by the Jonathan government to set up another committee to investigate the Ribadu report now in the public domain, she said the move if true would at the end of the day, water down the import of the whole exercise, and by the time it has taken about six to nine months to re-examine the report, people tend to forget everything about it.
“The concern of Nigerians on this and other things coming up on a daily basis is that nothing should be swept under the carpet , so to speak, but I’m assuring them that we at the NASS would look into the issue and come up with our report on it”, she said. 
She said the National Assembly has always complained against the practice of setting up “committees upon committees”  just to look into the work done by another committee, thereby defeating the intent of the whole process.
Similarly, on the issue of near absence of the effects of the oil and gas exploration, the Senator expressed worry about the deplorable state of federal roads in the country especially Enugu –Port Harcourt express road in the south eastern part of the country, describing it as the worst federal road in the country as it has become a death trap for commuters plying the route.
“People are angry and worried that year in, year out, we appropriate some much money in the budget, and at the end of the day, the larger chunk is spent on recurrent costs and government’s overheads; it is painful that we still allocate about 75 percent or more of the budget to recurrent  expenditure at the expense of capital expenditure,” She said.

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