Petroleum industry: White Paper on Ribadu report out soon – FG
BY SONI DANIEL, REGIONAL EDITOR, NORTH
ABUJA—The Federal Government said Tuesday, it would soon make public its feelings on the Mallam Nuhu Ribadu-led report on Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, PRSTF, popularly known as the Ribadu report.
The Federal Government’s assurance emerged just as anxiety became rife that the administration had jettisoned the controversial report apparently because of its damning expose of the rot in the petroleum industry and the image problem it has created for the country at home and abroad.
The Chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Ribadu White Paper Report, Mr. Emeka Wogu, told Vanguard in a telephone interview that the committee was working assiduously to round off its work.
The chairman, who is also the Minister of Labour and Productivity, said that the Federal Government was aware of the high expectations of Nigerians on the matter and was set to release the White Paper shortly.
The minister denied insinuations in certain quarters that the report had been dumped or doctored to suit any interest.
Wogu said: “It is untrue that the government had dumped the report. I want to say that very soon the committee, which has been working assiduously, will release its recommendations and Nigerians will get it.”
A dramatic twist had attended the presentation of the Ribadu Report to President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa last November, raising dust that the government had arranged the open disagreement between Ribadu on one hand and Ben Otti and Steve Orosanye, on the other so as to discredit the outcome and dump the report.
A few days after the presentation, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, openly rubbished the Ribadu Report at a press conference, describing it as an “incomplete assignment”.
According to Okupe, Ribadu also deviated from the terms of reference given him by the government to embark on extraneous exercise that has no bearing on the work of the PRSTF.
Okupe noted that Ribadu had shot himself on the foot by concluding that he did not have enough time to verify the work and as such the report could not be used to indict anyone.
The SSA to the President also dismissed as untenable claim by Ribadu that he rushed to publish the report so as not to bow to pressure to compromise it, wondering on whose side the President who set up the committee stood.
He asked: “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?”
The report had detailed the huge revenue being lost daily by the government as a result of institutional corruption in the oil industry, weak institutional and legal framework as well as inefficient oversight and control