Monday, 5 November 2012

Politicians hijack Ribadu report •Plan mass protest

altREPORTS from government circles on Monday indicated that some political forces may have hijacked the just submitted report of the Committee on Oil sector Revenue, headed by former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
Sources close to security networks said on Monday that some political figures had met in Abuja at the weekend to perfect the hosting of some rallies across the states.
A report in the custody of government indicates that a former presidential aspirant, who is still hopeful of contesting the 2015 election met on Saturday with a chieftain of one of the leading opposition parties in Abuja where the plot to hijack the Ribadu report as a launch pad  for the 2015 election was said to have been hatched.
It was also gathered that security agencies are already inundated with plans by some persons to stage a protest against key figures including the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke as well as the Minister of Finance, Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
“Some of the political forces are behind the plan to protest at the National Assembly and request the sack of Okonjo-Iweala and Alison-Madueke, as a first step in the politicisation of the report,” a reliable source said.
But it was gathered that the plan of the political figures is more than seeking the sack of Okonjo-Iweala and the Petroleum Minister, as, according to the source, the forces also plan to, through the hijacking of the report, blackmail President Goodluck Jonathan and possibly dent his alleged re-election plan.

“What has been discovered is that some forces are seeking to distract the president in several ways. They have tried the option of instigating insecurity and it appears to them to have failed. Now they believe that they need to paint the president black with the outcome of the Ribadu report, so as to brighten their own chances in 2015,” another source stated.
A security agency said in Abuja that some politicians had funded the planned protests to the tune of N200 million.
But sources in Abuja told the Nigerian Tribune that the Federal Government already sees the report as work in progress as the committee itself submitted.
A letter addressed to the Minister of Petroleum Resources signed by Ribadu and the Secretary of the committee, Olasupo Shasore (SAN), indicated that most of the data used in collating the report were not verified due to time constraint.
The letter read in part: “This is our final report of the assignment. Accordingly, this report supercedes earlier copies used for presentations and discussions.
 “The data used in this report was presented by various stakeholders who made submissions to the Task Force in the course of our assignment at various dates, which have been disclosed in relevant sections of the report. Due to time frame of the assignment, some of the data used could not be independently verified and the Task Force recommends that the government should conduct such necessary verifications and reconciliations.”
A government source stated that the bid to politicise the report was unnecessary, since President Jonathan himself deemed it fit to set up the committee.
“This is a committee set up by the president without prompting by anybody. I think he should be allowed to study the report and take appropriate actions,” a source said.
Leader of the Southern Mandate, Mr Tito Zuokumor, also said on Monday that the president should be commended for showing courage to set up that kind of committee and inviting people like Ribadu who contested against him in the last general election, to probe a critical government agency.
“The president should be commended for taking this courageous step and all attempts to distract him should be condemned,” he said.

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