President Goodluck Jonathan has directed that the report of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force chaired by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu be presented to him this week, a statement by State House has said.
The committee was set up in February. Its assignment included to determine and verify all petroleum upstream and downstream revenues due and payable to the Federal Government of Nigeria, and to take all necessary steps to collect all debts due and owed; to obtain agreements and enforce payment terms by all oil industry operators.
The report of the committee has already started to arouse considerable public interest, following a story five days ago by a Reuters correspondent who saw it, that in the last decade alone, Nigeria lost $29 billion dollars to deals struck between corrupt government officials and the oil companies.
According to Reuters, the report also says that the nation’s oil ministers have been handing out discretionary oil licences; that the Nigeria National Petroleum Company sells itself cheap oil and gas; and that hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses and royalties are missing.
Curiously, the Minister for Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Alison-Madueke admitted to Reuters last week that she received the report last month, but described it as only a draft and that the government was yet to give input. It was unclear why the government would be giving any “input” to a report that had not been submitted apart from manipulating it for its own purposes. Reuters said the report it saw was marked “Final Report,” meaning it was snot a draft.
Going by the Reuters account, the Ribadu Committee report is certain to be explosive because some of the manipulative practices the committee identified extend to the tenure of the current Minister, Mrs. Alison Madueke, who was responsible for setting up the committee.
Critics say that that fact may explain why she had hung on to the report for over a month, and suggest that her very objective in setting it up in the first place was to enable her influence the government’s intervention in the industry.
President Jonathan will receive the report on Friday morning at 11a.m. His government is known worldwide for saying the right things when it comes to corruption. It is even more consistent, analysts say, for not implementing corruption and other reports that are received by it, a fact that has deeply boosted corruption in Nigeria.