The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the federal government of acting in bad faith in the way and manner it has treated the report of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force.
In a statement issued in Benin on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also said the patently tactless action of a presidential aide, Dr. Doyin Okupe, in rubbishing the report and, by extension the members of the task force, will make credible Nigerians to be wary of serving in similar panels in future.
”The fact that the FG has not come out to refute Dr. Okupe’s crude comments on the report is a clear indication that the position he enunciated publicly on the report represents that of the government. Saying the task force did not complete its assignment and accusing its chairman of disinformation and politicization amount to preparing the grounds for the dumping of the report,” it said.
ACN said the treatment meted out to the task force is the worst blow that any government has dealt its own panel, and confirms the party’s earlier statement that the FG deliberately set a booby trap for the task force by the suspicious timing of the appointments it gave to two of its members, Steven Oronsaye and Bernard Otti, in the NNPC.
”Unfortunately, despite its angry reaction to our earlier statement, the government is yet to convince us otherwise. If anything at all, it has gone ahead to make our statement look prescient.
”We are not even talking here of the merits or demerits of the task force’s report, but of the way the Chairman and members of the task force (minus the two dissenting ones) have been savaged. This is a task force that has as members several Senior Advocates of Nigeria and a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, among others.
”Even if the government feels the report is inconclusive, could it not have set up a panel to review the findings? Is it not also the prerogative of the government to even leave the report to gather dust, if it does not agree with the findings, instead of coming out so publicly to ridicule its own task force?
”The unprecedented outpouring of public opprobrium on the task force by the same government that set it up makes a mockery of governance, and does no credit to the Jonathan administration, which is always quick to accuse the opposition of insulting its principal. A government earns respect by its actions. It is futile demanding it (respect),” the party said.