Monday, 20 May 2013
Greasy Collaboration: Presidency Intensifies Efforts To Discredit Ribadu Report, Invites Friendly Editors To ‘Lunch’
The Jonathan presidency today moved a step further to discredit the report of the Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force (PRSTF), which was submitted to it two weeks ago.
In a rare collaboration between the office of the Special Assistant to President Jonathan on Public Affairs and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, selected journalists have been invited to lunch tomorrow with the presidential attack dog, Dr. Doyin Okupe, where they will be briefed.
The normally rewarding luncheon will take place at the fashionable Lagoon Restaurant in Victoria Island Lagos at 1PM on Sunday according to a text message obtained by SaharaReporters.
Dr. Okupe has become the arrowhead of plans by President Goodluck Jonathan to discredit the committee report, which partly asserts that Nigeria presidents, including the current, have used the NNPC to shell out favors to cronies, relatives and family members.
The report revealed that major oil corporations ripped Nigeria off to over $30 billion in back taxes and royalties.
SaharaReporters had revealed that Mr. Jonathan was planning to kill the report using Mr. Steve Orosanye, who acted as the secretary of the commission.
Mr. Oronsaye refused to attend the meetings of the committee but instead got himself appointed to the board of the NNPC.
On the day of the submission of the committee report, Mr. Oronsaye was flown into Nigeria to rubbish the report, his speech at the occasion throwing the report into controversy.
Mr. Okupe, who sat directly behind Ribadu during the submission of the committee work, looked livid as Ribadu confronted Oronsaye.
Mr. Okupe, who Ribadu once described a consummate criminal, spent two months in detention for fraud while Mr. Ribadu was the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Okupe, now the face and voice of aggression in Aso Rock, had been involved in contract scams involving Imo and Benue States, where he stole monies meant for road construction. Shortly after he was granted bail, Mr. Ribadu was kicked out of the EFCC.
Mr. Okupe was never tried for those scams until the controversy surfaced shortly after his recent appointment by President Jonathan.
Members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State also accussed Mr. Okupe of stealing N5 million from the PDP gubernatorial candidate, Tunji Olurin, in 2011. The money had been donated to the governorship candidate by former Governor Segun Oni of Ekiti state.
Tomorrow’s lunch will be a tripartite event between Okupe, the NNPC and some editors who have reportedly been paid in advance to help rubbish the Ribadu committee report, or suppress adverse stories about it in their media outlets.
One of the main portions of the Ribadu report claims that oil traders in the international market sell Nigerian oil, a practice Mr. Ribadu says is not only criminal but also totally unacceptable. According to his speech to Mr. Jonathan, Ribadu claims that only the government of war-torn Congo engages oil traders to sell its oil.
Saharareporters investigations show, however, that of the 40 oil traders engaged in oil sales, 25 of them are directly owned or controlled by President Jonathan and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke.
In addition, Mrs. Allison –Madueke has complete control of the 445,000 barrels per day allocated to the NNPC for local consumption.