Of Probes and Government’s Lack of Political Will – Adewale Kupoluyi

Published:18 Nov, 2012

Of Probes and Government’s Lack of Political Will – Adewale Kupoluyi

The nation’s yearning for development may continue to be an illusion as long as we are not ready to learn from our past mistakes.

Whenever one hears of committees or probe panels being set up to investigate some activities, what readily comes to mind is either — politics at play or nothing would come out of it.

Before the return to democratic rule, Nigerians used to take the failures of implementation of probe panel reports as part of the outcome of military dictatorship but events have shown that this is not so.

This worrisome trend is neither limited to the Executive arm of government nor the Jonathan administration — and if care is not taken — it may continue to be a burden the nation will live with.

The latest of such disdain for public reports is the alleged moves to discredit the submission by the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, headed by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.

The drama began at the presentation of the report at the State House, Abuja, when Steve Oronsaye, deputy chairman of the task force and Ben Otti, another member of the 17-member committee tried, in a futile bid, to discredit the report. They claimed that they were not privy to the final draft being tendered.

The committee produced the 146-page document, based on the request by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, covering 10 years     — 2002 to 2012.

According to the report, Nigeria had lost tens of billions of dollars in oil and gas income over the last decade from shady deals struck between multinational oil companies and government officials.

The report alleged that foreign oil traders often bought crude without any formal contracts, and that the state oil firm had short-changed the nation’s treasury by selling gas and crude oil to itself below market rates without any transparency.

The task force also found anomalies ranging from about $183m in signature bonuses for oil bloc licences not accounted for and $3.02 bn as unpaid royalties, theft of up to 250,000 barrels of crude per day and fraud by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in converting its dollar earnings to naira.

Discrediting the report, presidential spokesman, Doyin Okupe, had said “an obvious DISCLAIMER (emphasis mine) issued by the committee on the entire report, 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.”

Okupe also criticised part of the report which says, “Due to the 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.”

He blamed Ribadu for the politicisation of the report and claimed that it was a calculated attempt to overheat the polity and incite Nigerians against President Goodluck Jonathan.

Over the years, findings of many panels and committees have not been made useful to the nation, resulting into wastage of material resources and man-hours.

A very few examples suffice: Following the violence that trailed the 2011 general elections in the country, over 900 persons were said to have lost their lives. President Jonathan inaugurated a 22-man panel of enquiry, headed by Sheikh Ahmed Lemu, to look at the incident and make recommendations on how to forestall a recurrence.

On October 10, 2011, the investigation panel submitted its report and advised that “the first and probably the most important major cause (of violence) is the failure on the part of the previous successive regimes, since the military handover of power in 1999, to implement the recommendations of various committees, commissions and panels that had taken place in our nation.”

The panel also called for the implementation of the Babalakin Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Bauchi State Civil Disturbances, Justice Snakey Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Wase and Langtang Disturbances and Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Committee, Karibi Whyte Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Kafanchan Disturbances, Professor Tamuno Panel of Inquiry on National Security, Niki Tobi Judicial Commission of Inquiry and Justice Disu Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Plateau State Disturbances.

Several Judicial Commissions of Inquiry had been set up by both the Federal and the Plateau State governments, to investigate the Jos crises but unfortunately, many of these reports were not made public or the culprits made accountable.

The denial of the public’s right to know the content of these reports by successive governments had provided moral grounds for speculations, distrust, and disregard for constituted authorities which significantly contributed towards escalating the crises that had led to wanton destruction of lives and property.

Another of such hibernated reports is the Steve Oronsaye Committee on the restructuring of Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

The Oronsaye panel recommended that government should reduce its over-bloated statutory agencies from 263 to 161 and also called for the abolition of 38 agencies, merger of 52 and reversion of 14 agencies to departments in the relevant ministries. Again, nothing concrete has been done to the report after its submission to the President.

The Ndudi Elumelu-led House of Representatives Committee on Power and Steel set up to investigate the alleged $16bn expenditure in the power sector, the Farouk Lawan-led House Ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management and the Nigeria Stock Exchange probe headed by Ibrahim El-Sudi, and the N6.2bn SIM cards registration probe had some reports that generated serious debates but are idling away.

In June 1999, former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration set up the Human Rights Violations Investigation Panel, popularly known as the Oputa Panel to review the human rights abuses experienced during previous military regimes.

While the panel worked assiduously according to its mandate, nothing came out of its report, as some powerful Nigerians even sought court orders to stop its proceedings.

Halliburton had sacked its top executive, Albert Stanley, for allegedly bribing senior Nigerian government officials with about US$180million to win Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas contracts in the late 1990s.

While the Federal Government set up a probe panel, headed by the former Inspector-General of Police, Mike Okiro, to investigate the case, the Senate and the House of Representatives separately also probed the incident.

Till date, no result has come from the probes and nobody was ever prosecuted from the outcome of the probes even when other foreign countries had sanctioned those indicted in the Halliburton scandal.

The report of highly celebrated Dr. Pius Okigbo-led panel went the same way. The panel was meant to probe the Gulf War period oil receipts. The full report, submitted on September 27, 1994, never saw the light of day, and was declared “missing” from records till date.

The failure to implement previous reports has been attributed to the lack of political will on the part of government in bringing about a change.

It should be appreciated that probing is a core part of governance and public office management. It is a modern tool used all over the world to get to the roots of problems, not necessarily for witch-hunting.

– Adewale Kupoluyi writes from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, vide adewalekupoluyi@yahoo.co.uk

  • Shittu A. Saheed

    We still have to wait for an action govt that will come n implement white papers’ cos if we expect any from this very one headed by GEJ,we will wait till thy kingdom come.

Related Posts

Recent Posts

A misguided tour and the plight of Boko Haram victims – By Musa Hassan-Tom

As the battle against the book haram terrorists draws close to an end, the Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government should not allow itself to be cornered into a situation of winning the battle and losing the war by pandering to vested interests. While the battle to defeat the insurgents has largely been successful, the task of attending to the needs of both internally displaced persons and refugees in neighbouring countries with a view to ameliorating their plight in the short...

Gambian state house website displays Adama Barrow as country’s new president

With gale of resignations hitting his cabinet in its last official days, President Yahya Jammeh’s endgame is probably near.   The latest indication of that is the display, as at press time, the picture of the man who brought Jammeh’s 22-year rule to an inglorious, Adama Barrow on the official website of Gambia’s State House. But it is unclear if the website was hacked.   Barrow is expected to be sworn in today. Where it will be done, is yet unclear as Jammeh...

Adama Barrow to be sworn in at Gambia’s embassy in Senegal

The in-coming president of the Gambia Adama Barrow is to be sworn in at Gambian embassy in Senegal today, his spokesman said on Thursday.   “It is going to take place at the Gambian embassy in Dakar, they have changed the venue, at 4:00 pm (1600 GMT),” spokesman Halifa Sallah said.   Barrow himself tweeted the information earlier the today.   https://twitter.com/adama_barrow/status/822000166454620160   Organisers had planned a large ceremony in a stadium in The Gambia but were forced to change plans due to...

Masterminds of Nigerian – Turkish school kidnap arrested – Police

Two suspected masterminds of the kidnapping of pupils and staff members of the Nigerian Turkish International Colleges have been arrested by the police Apart from the ringleaders, Philip Kakadu, aka General Kakadu, and Romeo Council, aka Raw, other suspects were also said to be undergoing screening in connection with the abduction. PUNCH Metro gathered that 29-year-old Kakadu and Council, 40, were apprehended in Warri, Delta State, by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team, led by ACP Abba Kyari. Some...

JUST IN: President Buhari to proceed on a 10-day vacation

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to proceed on a 10-day vacation beginning from Monday January 23 to Monday February 6, 2017.   Buhari disclosed this in a letter, read by Bukola Saraki, the senate President, Thursday, during plenary.   The letter read that the 10-day period formed part of his annual vacation for 2017.   According to the letter, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is to act as President during the period, which Buhari would be away.

A Case For The Young – By Tosin Ashafa

“Our answer is the world's hope; it is to rely on youth. The cruelties and obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement of danger. It demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality...

JAHDA Clothing Unveils ‘JAGABAN 2017 Collection Featuring Woli Arole

Popular celebrity stylist and designer OPUSUNJU DANIEL YINKA popularly known as JAHDA clothings releases pictures of his new designs tagged the JAGABAN STYLE which features popular comedian WOLE AROLE and himself. OPUSUNJU DANIEL again raised the bar of casual native dresses in the fashion industry with these exciting and amazing new collections. According to the designer, he claims to have wanted to bring in the fusion of both the AGBADA and...

Gambians to embark on civil disobedience against Yahya Jammeh

The West African Civil Society Forum, WACSOF, has expressed concern over the intention of outgoing leader of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, to plunge the country into disarray over his refusal to step down from office having been defeated in the December 1, 2016 presidential election by the opposition candidate, Adama Barrow. In a statement delivered at a press conference at its secretariat in Abuja, WACSOF acting secretary general, Auwal Musa, called on the international community to make sure Mr. Jammeh...

UPDATE: Yahya Jammeh’s lawyer flees, asks him to step down.

Edu Gomez, the lawyer of outgoing leader of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, has fled the country to neighbouring Senegal after penning the president a letter to step down from office in the interest of peace. Mr. Gomez who represented Mr. Jammeh and his party, the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, APRC, in their failed attempt to have the country’s Supreme Court overturn the victory of the President-elect, Adama Barrow, and stop his inauguration as President. In his letter, Mr. Gomez...

Labour Party drags Governor Amosun to court over road projects

The Labour Party, LP, in Ogun State has dragged Governor Ibikunle Amosun to court for details of the contracts for all road projects awarded by his administration since 2011.   The party in the suit filed at the State High Court, Abeokuta, joined the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure as respondents.   The suit was instituted on behalf of the party by its state chairman, Arabambi Abayomi; secretary, Oginni Olaposi; and two members, Olufunmilayo Oginni and Sabur Aroyewun.   The applicants are...

Gambia army chief says troops will not fight intervention

Gambia’s army chief said Wednesday he would not order his men to fight other African troops if they enter Gambian territory, speaking as Senegalese and other troops massed on his nation’s borders. The Senegalese troops backed by other African forces are on standby to move into The Gambia as President Yahya Jammeh approaches a midnight deadline to stand down or face military action after refusing to leave at the end of his term. “We are not going to involve ourselves militarily....

Butcher allegedly kills colleague over cow leg

A Tug of war between two butchers over who will buy a cow leg from a customer at a slaughterhouse at the popular Abraka Market in Asaba, has resulted in the death of one of the butcher. He was stabbed by his colleague in a fit of anger. The deceased butcher, Mr. Akin Sahid, 34, from Kwara State and a father of two met his untimely death yesterday when he went to buy cow meat at the abattoir in company...

Nigerian Navy seaman’s wife allegedly commits suicide by ingesting ‘Sniper’

The wife of a naval rating has allegedly committed suicide in Igando, a Lagos suburb. The woman, whose identity was said to be unknown at the time of filing this report, allegedly drank sniper, a local insecticide, on Sunday evening after a disagreement with her husband, Seaman Band Omojoye.   It was alleged that the couple had an argument after the man discovered that the woman lied to him. She was said to have left the house and told the husband...

EFCC arrests OSOPADEC boss, three others over alleged corruption

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arrested the Chairman of the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas and Development Commission (OSOPADEC), Pastor Johnson Ogunyemi and three other principal officers. The officers included the Secretary, Dr. Dele Durojaye, the Director of Finance, Sola Orisamoluwa and the Director of Account, Vincent Ikuomola.The Guardian learnt that the officials of the anti-graft agency stormed the headquarters of the commission yesterday afternoon and locked the main gate before heading to the chairman’s office. The main...

World’s first 3-parent baby delivered in Ukraine

A baby boy has been born in Ukraine to an infertile couple after the first ever use of a new technique using the DNA of three parents, the head of a Kiev fertility clinic said Wednesday. The boy was conceived using DNA from his mother and father but also from an egg donor in a technique called pronuclear transfer, said Valeriy Zukin, director of the Nadiya private fertility clinic in Kiev. “It is the first delivery (using) pronuclear transfer all over...

Government gives traders two weeks for Ladipo Market demolition

Barely a week after the Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, paid an unscheduled visit to the Ladipo auto spare parts market in Mushin, the state government has given traders two weeks notice to quit some sections of the market already marked for demolition. The notice was announced to the leadership of the market under the umbrella of Ladipo Auto Central Executive Committee (LACEC) on Tuesday by the state government at the stakeholders meeting held to fine-tune arrangements for the proposed...

Federal High Court grants bail to Sambo Dasuki’s ally Edidiong Idiong

A Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, has granted bail to a businessman, Mr. Edidiong Idiong, in the criminal charges brought against him by the Federal Government. Idiong and two others were arraigned yesterday on an 11-count charge of alleged possession of funds meant to purchase arms by the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Sambo Dasuki. The court, presided over by Justice Gabriel Kolawole, dismissed the objection by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that it was unmeritorious to grant...

FG will NOT increase pump price of petrol, says NNPC

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has advised Nigerians not to engage in any panic buying of petroleum products. Ndu Ughamadu, spokesman of the corporation, issued a statement late Wednesday to dismiss the report of a likely increase in the price of the products. He said the corporation had a 1.3billion litres stock of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol, which is sufficient to serve the nation for more than 38 days. “This plea comes on the heels of reports that some motorists...

UPDATE: Senegal troops move in on Gambia

Senegalese troops have been seen moving towards the Gambian border in a show of force to pressure President Yahya Jammeh to stand down, according to BBC. Senegal gave Jammeh a midnight GMT deadline to quit and Nigeria has sent an air force contingent to Senegal in support of the possible intervention. Wednesday was meant to be Jammeh’s last day in office but parliament extended his tenure by three months. This stops the inauguration of President-elect Adama Barrow, who is currently...

POLL: Obama leaves office as 3rd most loved American president

Outgoing US President Barack Obama will leave office on Friday with his highest approval rating since 2009. A new CNN/ORC poll finds Obama’s approval rating stands at 60 per cent, his best mark since June of his first year in office and majority said they would miss him when “he is gone’’. Compared with other outgoing presidents, Obama lands near the top of the list, outranked only by Bill Clinton’s 66 per cent in January 2001 and Ronald Reagan’s 64 per...

Donald Trump set to take oath of office on Friday

Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States at 12 noon in Washington, and 6pm Nigerian time on Friday.   The joint congressional committee on inaugural ceremonies disclosed this.   The ceremony is scheduled to start at 11:30am, with a musical prelude beforehand, according to a copy of the inauguration programme.   Afterwards, Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence are slated to participate in the traditional inaugural parade, which is scheduled to start at 3 pm (9 pm Nigerian time).   According to...