By Michael Eboh
A group, the Niger Delta Advancement Front (NAF) Wednesday, berated the House of Representatives, over its decision to summon former President Goodluck Jonathan over the Malabu oil deal involving the controversial Oil Prospecting License, OPL, 245.
In a statement in Abuja, National President of NAF, Mr. Ikiomasi Wakama, described the summons as a show of naked overzealousness and utter disrespect, while it classified it as an attempt to vilify the former president.
He said the group would resist any attempt to make Goodluck Jonathan appear before the lawmakers House of Representatives, while it wondered why the lawmakers singled out the former president who sacrificed so much for the unity of Nigeria.
He described the summons as a witch-hunt that must not be accomplished, stating people from the Niger Delta must not be seen to be the only ones paying the price and making sacrifices for the country.
Wakama expressed satisfaction over the fact that the Malabu Oil deal predates the Jonathan administration, while he wondered wonder why the House of Representatives would want to summon only former President Jonathan and not Obasanjo or the Abacha family, who probably should have a better explanation on the subject matter.
He said, “We condemn in all fullness, the continued vilification of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the various attempts at undermining a good man who did his best for the country in service and strengthening our democracy and unity as a nation.”
He said a Nigerian court had on January 26, 2017 given an order ceding control of OPL 245 to the Federal Government pending investigations on the $1.1 billion deal, adding that on March 17, an Abuja Federal High Court reversed its seizure of the oil block with the judge stating that the forfeiture order was irregularly filed.
He stated that in February this year, Italian oil company ENI’s Board of Statutory and Watch Structure had commissioned an independent US law firm to carry out forensic investigation of the 2011 transaction between ENI and Shell and the Nigerian Government for the acquisition of OPL 245 license in Nigeria.
The investigation, he explained, examined new materials and further information filed by prosecutors in Milan and Nigeria as part of closure of the investigation in December 2016, adding that the law firm however, confirmed the conclusion reached by previous investigations in 2015 stating that there was no evidence of corrupt conduct in relation to the transaction, and thereby, exonerated the Former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“ So the question is, who is after Goodluck Jonathan? Against this background, we therefore see a calculated grand plan of deliberate mischief from the Nigerian House of Representatives to continue to witch-hunt and malign former President Jonathan and his government on a matter that competent courts and international investigators have carefully studied and given a clean bill of health,” he argued.
Raising further questions about the impropriety of the summon, Wakama queried whether the Nigerian House of Representatives is now working on behalf of the Nigerian people or the Abacha family who have been working round the clock to seize OPL 245 from Malabu Oil and its owners?
He wondered how come these investigations by EFCC and the House of Representatives are coming at the same time when the Abacha family had renewed its quest to acquire OPL 245.
“How come that out of all the oil blocks awarded by the Abacha junta to the Mai Deribes, Indimis and the many others, it is the Malabu oil deal that has continued to be the subject of national discourse?
Deliberately contorted and twisted to suit the mischievous propagandists who have sworn that Malabu oil and its owners will see no peace as much as we know that Goodluck Jonathan has no interest or stake in it?” Wakama queried.
Continuing, he said, “It is unfortunate that a country that has not been able to summon those responsible for the Halliburton scam which has won Nigeria international condemnation and for which many have been convicted in international courts would want to witch-hunt former president Goodluck Jonathan because they are bent on excavating evidence against the Jonathan presidency and the Malabu oil deal even when it has been clearly established that there was none.
“What about those who plotted coup to topple previous administrations in this country and are working free, are they not supposed to be tried after serving out as presidents? Can’t the National assembly go after coup plotters in order to forestall future occurrences, rather than hunting an innocent man in the person of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who handed over power willingly just to promote our Democracy which those in the National Assembly are one of the biggest beneficiaries?”
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