The groups, including the Trade Union Congress, the Campaign for Democracy and the Congress for Progressive Change warned President Goodluck Jonathan against dumping the report.
At a news conference in Abuja, Jonathan’s Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, had based his criticism of the report on one of its paragraphs.
Okupe said the paragraph “is an obvious DISCLAIMER (emphasis his) issued by the committee on the entire report, and makes it impossible under our laws to indict or punish anyone except, and until, the Federal Government fully verifies and reconciles the facts as recommended by the committee in its submission to the government.”
But faulting the Presidency, the Secretary-General of the Trade Union Congress, Chief John Kolawole, said that it was unfortunate the FG was rubbishing the panel’s report.
He stated, “The panel (the Ribadu task force) may have probably not gone through the whole process, but it could be a way of making the government to ensure that it is not swept under the carpet.”
Kolawole recalled that some consultants were mentioned.
He said, “Who are the consultants? Are they not consulting for the same Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation under probe? Ribadu is a very experienced police investigation officer and he knows how to go about his work.
“The government has gone too far in condemning the work. The government should have told the panel to go back to its work. It is as if the government had a vested interest in the whole thing.
“What we want in the country is a genuine fight against corruption. Nigerians want transparency. The government has not said something about the indicted people, about the issues raised. It is blaming the panel’s activities on procedure but has refused to say something about the findings.”
Kolawole said Nigerians were interested in the report, adding that the government should do something about the people mentioned and the lack of transparency in the oil sector.
The President, Campaign for Democracy, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, said she was not surprised by the Presidency’s reaction to the report.
She said, “We have seen it before with the House committee report on fuel subsidy. The intention of the Federal Government all along was to use the committee as a diversion. It has to rubbish the report as it has turned out a big indictment. The government needs political will to fight corruption, although it is difficult for corruption to fight corruption.”
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