At a press conference in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan’s Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, 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, 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.”
According to Okupe, the offending paragraph in the report 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.”
Okupe blamed Ribadu for the politicisation of the report. He alleged that there was a major public disinformation campaign which, he said, was calculated to overheat the polity and incite Nigerians against the President because of the report.
He said, “For instance on his Facebook page a while ago, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu remarked that he resisted overtures to make him compromise the report and rather than compromising the report, he stayed on the side of the Nigerian people.
“His claim of an overture to him to compromise the report is perfidious and false. We respectfully enjoin Mallam Nuhu Ribadu to be patriotic enough to name the proponents of this compromise.
“If Ribadu claims that to be serving on the committee he is on the side of the Nigeria people, on whose side is President Jonathan whose idea it was in the first place to set up the task Force and approved the appointment of Mallam Ribadu as chairman of the committee?”
Okupe also blamed those who, according to him, leaked the report to the foreign media before it was submitted to Jonathan. He described the people who leaked the report as unpatriotic Nigerians.
The report, which was submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan last week Friday, indicts the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for sundry economic crimes. The report became controversial after the media highlighted some of its findings and recommendations before it was submitted to Jonathan.