20 April 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – A group under the auspices of the Niger Delta Advancement Front (NAF) Wednesday kicked against the House of Representatives summoning ex-President Goodluck Jonathan to appear before it over Malabu oil deal involving the controversial OPL 245 oil field which was bought by Italian oil giant ENI and Shell in 2011.
The group, according to its National President, Dr. Ikiomasi Wakama, in a statement, vowed to resist any attempt that would make Goodluck Jonathan to appear before the House of Representatives.
Wondering why the lawmakers singled out one of their own, who sacrificed so much for the unity of Nigeria, the group described the summon as a witch-hunt that must not be accomplished.
The NAF National President in a statement in Abuja, Wednesday said that: “As much as we believe in the unity of Nigeria, we must not also be the only ones to be paying the price because we can assure the National Assembly that we will resist every attempt to make Goodluck Jonathan appear before them.”
The statement that condemned the summon notice, also classified it as vilification of Jonathan, who did his best for the country.
Wakama said that: “It has come to our notice that the Nigerian House of Representatives, in a show of naked overzealousness and utter disrespect, is proposing to summoned the immediate past President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR) over his perceived role in the Malabu Oil deal involving the controversial OPL 245 oil field which was bought by Italian oil giant ENI and Shell in 2011.
“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.”
According to NAF, 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.
The statement added 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.
NAF said 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, said the group, examined new materials and further information filed by prosecutors in Milan and Nigeria as part of closure of the investigation in December 2016.
The group pointed out 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 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.”
Raising further questions about the impropriety of the summon, the group said asked whether the Nigerian House of Representatives 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.
The NAF wondered how come these investigations by EFCC and the House of Representatives are coming at the same time when the Abacha family has renewed its quest to acquire OPL 245.
It asked: “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 concocted 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.
“We are more concerned knowing that the Malabu Oil deal predates the Jonathan administration and we are left to wonder why the House of Representatives would want to summon only former President Jonathan and not Obasanjo who probably should have a better explanation on the subject matter. Or better still, start with the Abacha family.
“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.”