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

Lionel Richie Reveals Plans for Upcoming Collaboration With Adele After Mashup of “Hello” Goes Viral

There's no bigger fan of Adele's "Hello" than Lionel Richie himself. The 66-year-old Grammy-winning artist, who enjoyed tremendous success with his own single called "Hello" in the early '80s, is thrilled about the newfound attention the decades-old song has received since Adele released her record-breaking track in October. After the song's debut, a video mashup of the British crooner hanging up the...

Watch Young Nigerian NBA Fan, Analyze The Game Of Basketball With Such Apt Knowledge

Isaac Emiefile is such a young man with a wide Knowledge of the NBA Game. He was invited as a guest on a Radio show and boy did he deliver with facts and records like a pro. But who says Professionalism on Knowledge comes with age? See Video below and Remember you saw him as a Kid here first when he takes the Center stage for NBA Commentary in years to Come. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn2vbo3jCHs&feature=youtu.be

Governor Ambode Asks Lagosians To Change Attitude

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday canvassed the need for Lagosians to embrace attitudinal change and shun all forms of unethical activities in the interest of socio-economic wellbeing of the State. Governor Ambode, who spoke at the Iyalode of Lagos Forum/Health Screening with the theme: “Improving the Ethical Standard of the Citizenry in Lagos State,” expressed delight at the return of peace among youths and various trade groups, especially in Lagos Island.

Faleke Sues INEC, Begs Court To Declare Him Kogi’s Governor-Elect

The deputy governorship flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress in the November 21 election in Kogi State, James Faleke, on Tuesday filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja, demanding his declaration as governor-elect.   Faleke also wrote Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC demanding the removal of his name as the running mate to Mr. Bello in the supplementary election. Recall that INEC had declared the election inconclusive. It ordered a supplementary election which will hold on December 5.   Faleke had...

Ambode To Host Annual Security Town Hall Meeting December 15

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode will on Tuesday, December 15, host the annual Town Hall Meeting on Security being put together by the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF).   In a statement signed by the Executive Secretary of the LSSTF, Dr. Abdurrazaq Balogun, the meeting which will be the first under the present administration and the 9th in the series will afford Governor Ambode render account of the Trust Fund, present the audit report and solicit for more donations...

Raymond Dokpesi Arrested In Connection To Arms Purchase Scandal

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today arrested the Chairman of Africa Independent Television, Raymomd Dokpesi, over the spreading arms purchase scandal involving the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and the theft of N2.1billion from the Central Bank of Nigeria  The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today arrested the Chairman of Africa Independent Television, Raymomd...

Over 400 Schools In Borno Reopen After 18 Months – UN

Hundreds of schools in northeast Nigeria have reopened for the first time in a year and a half, though many teachers and pupils are reluctant to return because of persistent violence in the region, the United Nations said on Tuesday.   Almost 450 schools have reopened in Borno state since October, more than 18 months after education was halted in the wake of an attack by Boko Haram militants on a boarding school in neighbouring Yobe state in which they killed...

Calabar Carnival: NSCDC Assures Of Adequate Security

The Cross River Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), has assured the people of Cross River and tourists for the carnival celebration of adequate security.   Mr Solomon Eremi, the NSCDC Public Relations Officer in the state, gave the assurance on Tuesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).   Eremi said that the command had deployed intelligence and uniform officers to different locations of the state to ensure a peaceful Christmas and carnival celebration in...

Police Arrest Fraudsters Impersonating Tinubu, Lagos CP

The police in Lagos have arrested two men who defraud members of the public with the name of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni.   He said the men also used the name of the former Lagos State governor, Sen. Bola Tinubu.   Owoseni made the disclosure on Monday while parading the suspects before newsmen.   He said the suspects allegedly opened a Facebook account in his name with his photograph to solicit for fund into a bank account of what the...

President Buhari Congratulates Kabore On His Election As President Of Burkina Faso

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Mr Roch Marc Kabore of the Movement of People for Progress Party on his historic election as the second civilian President of Burkina Faso. This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity. The statement also quoted Buhari as expressing the hope that the successful conclusion of the electoral process would usher in a new era...

DAPPMA Depots Begin Massive Loading Of Petroleum Products

Depots and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMA) said its members had begun massive loading of petroleum products to ease the effect of their scarcity in the country.   Mr Olufemi Adewole, the Executive Secretary of the association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the loading was going on in Lagos, Oghara, Warri, Calabar and Port Harcourt where the members had depots.   Adewole said that the marketers were doing this, hoping that the payment of outstanding subsidy...

See Pics Of Sofia Vergara & Joe Manganiello’s Romantic Honeymoon

For those of you out there wearing mittens in your freezing cold apartment as you try and get the heat to finally work, here's a story that was made just for you. Right at this very moment, Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello (the world's greatest celebrity newlyweds) are enjoying their honeymoon on a beautiful sun-soaked beach. E! Online reports the couple is enjoying the full VIP treatment at Parrot Cay, a private resort on the Turks and Caicos Islands. Sofia and...

South African Court To Sentence Woman For Online Baby Sale

A mother pleaded guilty in a South African court to having tried to sell her baby on the Internet for 5,000 rand (346 dollars), a report said on Tuesday. The 20-year-old woman said ``I admit that my actions were unlawful and intentional, I have no defence.’’ Police said that the woman was arrested in October following a tip-off from a member of the public who said that a baby was being sold...

Roch Kabore Wins Burkina Faso Presidential Election

Burkina Faso’s electoral body on Tuesday announced Roch Kabore as winner of the presidential election. Provisional results from Sunday’s election showed Mr. Kabore winning 53.5 per cent of the votes to defeat former Finance Minister Zephirin Diabre, who scored 29.7 per cent, and 12 other candidates, the electoral commission said. Turnout for the election was about 60 per cent, the outright majority means there would be no run-off. “This election went off in calm...

FG Promises To Implement Niger Delta Master Plan

Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to implementing the Niger Delta Master Plan to drive the development of the region. Professor Osinbajo gave the assurance on Monday at the inaugural meeting of Partners for Sustainable Development Forum. At the meeting organised by the Niger Delta Development Commission, in Port Harcourt, the Vice President said that President Muhammadu Buhari had also expressed concern with current degradation of the...

Street Begging: NSCDC Commandant Cautions IDPs In Jigawa

Malam Muhammad Gidado, the Commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Jigawa, has warned Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state against street begging.   Gidado gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Dutse.   He advised parents and guardians of the IDPs to stop sending their children and wards to the streets to beg because the practice posed a threat to their lives.   "The IDPs should refrain from...

Al-Qaeda Frees 16 Lebanese Soldiers In Swap Deal

The al-Qaeda branch in Syria has freed 16 Lebanese soldiers who were abducted in August 2014, in a swap deal, a Lebanese security source close to the negotiations said.   "The soldiers have been set free in a swap deal during which the Lebanese government handed over 13 prisoners, including five women, who have links with al-Nusra in return for the release of the 16 soldiers," the source said.   The soldiers were taken captive last year during fighting between militants from al-Qaeda...

FG, Lagos Trains 1000 Unemployed Youths On ICT

The Federal Ministry of Communication Technology, in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Rockefeller Foundation has trained about 1000 unemployed youths in Lagos State on IT Digital Entrepreneurship Skills. A statement signed by Mr. Olufemi Odubiyi, Lagos State Commissioner for Science and Technology, in Lagos on Tuesday urged the youths to utilise the privilege to become self-employed by improving their skills and become fully committed to micro-working. According to...

UN Official Says Now Is The Time To Flush Out Boko Haram

A UN top aid official in Cameroon, Najat Rochdi, on Tuesday said Boko Haram Islamist militant group was expanding and the time to stop them was now. Rochdi, who is Resident Coordinator of UN aids activities in the country, said in Yaoundé that the terrorists’ strategy was to demonstrate its power with daily suicide bombings, using young girls. "Its offensive is bankrupting Cameroon's economy and destroying a fragile society, especially influencing the young. Boko Haram is giving them a sense, because they...

FAAN, Aviation Unions Resolve Staff Welfare Dispute

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has agreed to increase allowances and claims of its workers.   This was disclosed by a communiqué signed by the management and leaders of three aviation unions in FAAN at the end of their meeting in Lagos.   The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a copy of the communiqué was made available to aviation correspondents in Lagos on Tuesday.   The unions, which signed the communique, are the Air Transport Services Senior Staff...

Now Is The Time To Flush Out Boko Haram – UN

A UN top aid official in Cameroon, Najat Rochdi, on Tuesday said Boko Haram Islamist militant group was expanding and the time to stop them was now. Rochdi, who is Resident Coordinator of UN aids activities in the country, said in Yaoundé that the terrorists’ strategy was to demonstrate its power with daily suicide bombings, using young girls. “Its offensive is bankrupting Cameroon’s economy and destroying a fragile society, especially influencing the young. “Boko Haram is giving them a sense,...