Ben Agande, Abuja.
After picking holes in the report of the Nuhu Ribadu led committee on petroleum revenue, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe Thursday made a volte face as he claimed that the Federal Government has no intention of dumping the Nuhu Ribadu report as being speculated in a section of the media.
In a statement issued in Abuja, Dr Doyin Okupe said because the report was hurriedly put together and submitted,”the government would have to waste a lot of time and money putting together machinery to verify the document before a white paper would be issued.
According to him, government would definitely take good look at the recommendations and comprehensively verify every data noting “that the government would verify data as recommended does not mean the report would be thrown away, it is not true”
He claimed that “since the committee’s report on its cover letter insisted the government must conduct necessary verifications and reconciliations before any action was taken, it would be wrong for the government to do otherwise.
He said at no time did he or any official of government suggest the report should be dumped because even though the data were yet to be verified, there are several issues raised by the committee that would never be swept under the carpet by the Jonathan’s administration, all found wanting punished and all loopholes for corruption blocked.
The presidential Aide said at his recent media briefing he spoke in line with the recommendation of the committee adding that “ at that event I said “The further implication of paragraph four quoted above, which is an obvious DISCLAIMER issued by the committee on the entire report makes it impossible under our laws to indict or punish anybody except and until the Federal Government fully verifies and reconciles the facts as recommended by the committee in its submission to the government.”
Dr Okupe at a recent media briefing rubbished the report submitted by Nuhu Ribadu accusing the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes of politicising the report.
Dr Okupe’s comment drew criticisms from several quarters with some critics alleging that his comments were a prelude to government’s plan to dump the report.
The special Adviser to the President on Communications Reuben Abati however defended government’s position on the report saying that President Jonathan was not ready to protect any wrong-doer as all those who have been found to be on the wrong side of the law would be made to face its full wrath.