By Abdulwahab Abdulah
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, yesterday, said the reaction of the Federal Government to the report of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, led by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu was a demonstration that the government was not ready to honour the country’s international anti-corruption obligations.
In a statement by its Executive Director, Mr. Tokunbo Mumuni, SERAP said rather than concentrating on the fundamental principles highlighted in the report, the government was making nonsense of the report of a task force it set up.
To this end, SERAP called on the Federal Government to immediately publish the report and punish those indicted or risk a legal action.
SERAP said: “Does the government disagree with the fact that Shell is yet to pay into the Federation Account a total of N137.572 billion ($946.878 million) made from gas sales from the Bonga oil field?
“Or that the Federation Account has been short-changed of revenues to the tune of $29 billion over a 10-year period?”
Rather than emphasising the fundamental principles highlighted and using the Ribadu report as a framework for further concrete action to combat impunity for corruption in the oil sector, the government has embarked on a widespread public campaign to rubbish the report of a task force that it voluntarily commissioned.
“This is hugely disappointing, and in fact has embarrassed our country in the comity of nations.
“No report anywhere in the world is perfect but the way the government has conducted itself in this case suggests that it is not politically-committed to honouring the country’s international anti-corruption obligations and commitments, including under the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.
“The way and extent to which the government has gone to discredit the outcome of the enquiry by its own task force, however tentative the conclusions of the report may be, suggests that this government has something to hide.
“While the government has strenuously faulted the report in terms of the process allegedly followed, it has not been forthcoming with information as to exactly which aspects of the substantive conclusions it disagrees with it.