Subsidy reports: “We will punish our nation’s saboteurs”, says president Jonathan

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LONDON: 15/06/2012

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has assured Nigerians that his government still holds in high esteem  the rule of law and will make the nation’s saboteurs in the submitted reports of House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on oil subsidy suffer their acts of economic sabotage.

Jonathan  denied instigating the $3 million bribery currently rocking the House of Representatives, denouncing media reports that has created a diversion from the bribery issue accusing the presidency of staging the scandal as a cover-up to oust an apparently unfriendly House of reps  leadership.

The president said on Thursday, the allegations were “lame and diversionary” .

Nigeria’s anti government media organisations have caused a stir diverting major eyes from the principal actor in the scandal and accusing the presidency of using Mr Femi Otedola who reported the scandal as a conduit to destroy the reports of the Ad-Hoc committee on the oil subsidy.

Many of the reports also appeared a schemed effort  designed to divert  the scandal to a major governmental strategy to kill the reports, weaving words together that the President was acting through Otedola to sabotage the committee  reports.

In a statement on Thursday evening, signed on behalf of the president by his spokesperson, Reuben Abati, Mr. Jonathan expressed dismay that a section of the Nigerian public would go to the extent of linking him personally in the ongoing House of Representative scandals, in which loyalists to the chairman of the committee are claiming that the he was responsible for the scandal.

He however denied acting personally or through a representative to initiate the scandal.

“For the benefit of unwary members of the public who may be deceived by the political innuendoes now being woven into the subsidy probe bribe affair, President Jonathan wishes to affirm that he has absolutely no reason or desire to meddle in the affairs of the House of Representatives and its leadership,” the president said.

The president said he was satisfied the House of Representatives has already recalled its members from recess for a special session to deliberate on the scandal and said he stood by his directive that the initial House report be re-investigated and those found guilty, punished.

“Recent developments notwithstanding, President Jonathan’s directive to the Attorney-General of the Federation on the report of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, as adopted by the House of Representatives, subsists and he fully expects that all those indicted in the report will be duly investigated and prosecuted if a prima facie case is established against them,” the president said.

Just as details of the scandal was unfolding, many loyalist to the former House of Representatives committee were scuttling the credibility of the scandal weaving words together that the President was acting through Mr Femi Otedola to sabotage the  committee’s  reports, a claim an observer said may have been prompted and peddled by self guilt members nervous that their name may be emerging later as investigation proceeds

Meanwhile, the prime suspect in the scandal, Farouk Lawan was a guest of the security agencies on Thursday facing interrogation.

Many hypothesis are however emerging as pressures were mounting in the House on Friday just as Lawan was suspended that many more revelations may be forthcoming.

Reacting to many groups and anti government Newspapers sentiment that the government may have stage-managed the scandal, e legal observer in London has questioned the House members nervousness in their continued allegation against the Executive. The observer said the strategy may have been adopted to pre-empt  possoble implication of many members who may have known about the scandal directly or indirectly.

However, as situations stands on Friday, it is being suggested that Farouk Lawan may have acted alone in the $620, 000 cash-for-clearance bribe .

Lawan, who is spending his 13th year in the lower chamber of the National Assembly, was said to have unilaterally delisted the name of Messrs Zenon Petroleum & Gas from the list of indicted oil marketers in the report of the former Committee on the day it was adopted by the House.

When confronted by other members of the committee, he reportedly told them that his action was informed by the additional information  that he had.

A source told The Nation that members of the committee wanted to openly challenge the removal of Zenon Petroleum & Gas Limited but shelved the idea to protect the integrity of their report.

The source said: “He acted alone without the consent of members of the committee. He claimed to have done what he did, based on further information that was made available to him.

“Other members of the committee would have kicked against his decision on the floor of the House but for its backlash on the report. Whoever is involved in such acts should carry the can.”

Farouk Lawan may have acted alone in the $620, 000 cash-for-clearance bribe rocking the House ad-Hoc Committee on the management of Petroleum Subsidy Fund (PSF), which he chaired, it was learnt yesterday.

Lawan, who is spending his 13th year in the lower chamber of the National Assembly, was said to have unilaterally delisted the name of Messrs Zenon Petroleum & Gas from the list of indicted oil marketers in the report of the former Committee on the day it was adopted by the House.

When confronted by other members of the committee, he reportedly told them that his action was informed by the additional information  that he had.

A source told The Nation that members of the committee wanted to openly challenge the removal of Zenon Petroleum & Gas Limited but shelved the idea to protect the integrity of their report.

The source said: “He acted alone without the consent of members of the committee. He claimed to have done what he did, based on further information that was made available to him.

“Other members of the committee would have kicked against his decision on the floor of the House but for its backlash on the report. Whoever is involved in such acts should carry the can.”