Onyebuchi Ezigbo â€¨
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the Presidency of castigating the report of the Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenue Task Force with a view to jettisoning it.
The party said the Federal Government acted in bad faith by the way and manner it treated the report of the task force.
In a statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party described as patently tactless, the action of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, in rubbishing the report and, by extension the members of the task force.
It said the treatment meted out to the committee would make credible Nigerians to be wary of serving in similar panels in future.
“By saying that the task force did not complete its assignment and accusing its chairman of disinformation and politicisation amount to preparing the grounds for the dumping of the report,’’ it said.
ACN said the fact that the Federal Government had not come out to refute Okupe’s comments on the report was a clear indication that the position he enunciated publicly on the report represented that of the Government.
The party said the treatment meted out to the task force by the presidential aide “ is the worst blow that any government has dealt its own panel, and confirms the party’s earlier statement that the Federal Government deliberately set a booby trap for the task force by the suspicious timing of the appointments it gave to two of its members, Steven Oronsaye and Bernard Otti, in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).”
According to the party, Federal Government is yet to come up with a convincing argument why it took such action to appoint two members of the probe committee into the NNPC board mid-way into the their assignment.
‘’We are not even talking here of the merits or demerits of the task force’s report, but of the way the Chairman and members of the task force (minus the two dissenting ones) have been savaged. This is a task force that has as members several Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), among others.
‘’Even if the Federal Government feels the report is inconclusive, could it not have set up a panel to review the findings? Is it not also the prerogative of the Federal Government to even leave the report to gather dust, if it does not agree with the findings, instead of coming out so publicly to ridicule its own task force?
‘’The unprecedented outpouring of public opprobrium on the task force by the same Federal Government that set it up makes a mockery of governance, and does no credit to the President Jonathan’s administration, which is always quick to accuse the opposition of insulting its principal. A government earns respect by its actions. It is futile demanding it (respect),’’ the party said.