"Federal Government deliberately attempt to sabotage Ribadu's Report" - ACN

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Sunday accused the Federal Government of deliberate attempt to sabotage the work of the Ribadu committee in view of the controversy that marred the presentation of its report last Friday.

In a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the decision to appoint Steve Oronsaye and Benard Otti to positions in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) while the task force was still working on its assignment, was a deliberate booby-trap.

But in a swift reaction, the Presidency deplored the ACN’s allegation, saying that it falls into a familiar pattern by the party to tell lies and discredit every initiative of the President Goodluck Jonathan.

The ACN said the Federal Government’s action smacked of ulterior motive, since it did not allow the task force to complete its assignment before appointing Oronsaye and Otti as a board member and Director of Finance respectively.

"Alternatively, both men should have resigned their membership of the committee the moment they were given the plum jobs to avoid the apparent conflict of interests. The fact that they stayed on, only to disparage the report of the task force so openly and ferociously at the end, is the clearest indication yet that they were meant to play that exact role of spoilers,’’ ACN added.

Reiterating that President Jonathan remains committed to the war against corruption, the Presidency noted that every step his administration had taken has been in this direction, which has not changed.

The statement read: “The statement falls into a familiar pattern by the party and its lying Lai, to seek every opportunity to insult President Jonathan, as they write glibly about what they call ‘the President’s efforts to downplay the whole disagreement and give the dissenters a soft landing,” and the President’s innermost thoughts on this issue.’

“For the avoidance of doubt, and for the benefit of the naysayers, the committees were set up as fact-finding and advisory bodies to generate ideas and recommendations about how best to strengthen the oil and gas sector and to further pursue the objectives of institutional integrity, transparency and accountability.

“President Jonathan remains committed to the war against corruption and every step his administration has taken has been in this direction, and that has not changed.

“The disagreements during the presentation were as surprising as they were sudden. President Jonathan should be commended for his mature handling of the situation, and not made the target of silly insinuations.

The ACN claims that Oronsaye and Otti’s membership of the NNPC while serving on the Ribadu committee compromises their position. It is important to note that this committee and other committees had government officials, and ex-staff as members.

“They were not set up as quasi-judicial bodies but as committees of wise and knowledgeable men and women who would offer useful advice and in getting such useful advice there is nothing wrong in encouraging the participation of a broad category of persons including insiders and outsiders.