Barely a week after the House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee investigating allegations of corruption, malpractices, and breach of due process in the award of oil prospecting licence (OPL 245) better known as Malabu oil scandal, said it planned to invite former President Goodluck Jonathan, there are indications that the committee will no longer insist on the appearance of the former leader.
New Telegraph reliably gathered that the ad hoc committee, led by Hon. Razaq Atunwa (APC, Kwara) may have considered the implications of the invitation of the former president and decided not to summon him again.
Atunwa had, last Thursday, explained that Jonathan may be summoned by the committee because fresh facts emanating from court cases on the controversial oil bloc seems to have implicated the exleader.
But a member of the committee who spoke to New Telegraph in confidence in Abuja said members of the panel had a rethink following the backlash that trailed media reports that Jonathan would be summoned.
He said: “We have reviewed the situation, especially comments from a cross section of opinion leaders and most of us were of the view that we should not heatup the polity. One, the former president has already reacted and denied any dealings with the principal characters in the oil bloc scandal.
“Secondly, the case is in court both in Nigeria and outside the country, so we are not out to humiliate or witch hunt anyone, but we just want to gather information that could help in getting to the bottom of this scandal once and for all.” According to the lawmaker, “What we have resolved now is that we will request the former president to do a paper for us stating what he knows about the oil bloc and we will work with that.
There is no personal interest here, but we are only interested in clearing this mess because right now, our country is a laughing stock internationally. It is a shame.” Asked if the committee was under pressure to drop the invitation, the lawmaker replied:
“I will say we are not under pressure, but some well-meaning Nigerians have advised and expressed their reservations and we have to reason with them. “Right now, there is relative calm and peace in the Niger Delta and we do not want anything that may trigger another round of crisis in that part of the country. Times are hard and we need peace for development to thrive,” he stated.
Attempts to get Atunwa to confirm the latest development could not yield results as several calls to him could not get through. The House had, by a resolution taken at plenary set up and mandated the Atunwa-led ad hoc committee to, inter alia, conduct a thorough examination of the process and circumstances surrounding OPL 245 and identify culpability of any persons, groups or organisations.