Ribadu mulls government's offer to head special oil panel

The presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the April 2011 presidential election, Nuhu Ribadu, was Tuesday named as head of a 17-member petroleum revenue special task force constituted by the federal government.

Premium Times could not ascertain Tuesday if the erstwhile chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was consulted before the appointment was announced, as he is currently outside the country on a special international anti-corruption assignment in Afghanistan.

Sources close to Mr. Ribadu however told us that the ex-police officer had been under intense international and local pressure to give the nation a helping hand in its accountability quotient especially in the corruption-ridden oil sector, but he had repeatedly excused himself giving his ongoing United Nations assignment in Afghanistan as evidence that he was busy beyond bounds.

He had also reportedly said he was not opposed to serving the nation in any capacity to advance its good governance, but could not overload his availability because of the United Nations assignment.

When a new wave of pressure reportedly mounted again last month in the wake of the national outrage over the removal of oil subsidy, Mr. Ribadu was unreachable because, family sources say, he was at a Manchester Hospital in the UK helping to save the life of his only sister. 

With the Afghan assignment at an advanced stage, Mr. Ribadu started getting calls again. Family sources expect that he will “most certainly accept” the assignment.

The task force, which has the immediate past Head of Service of the Federation, Steve Oronsaye, as deputy chairman, also includes other prominent Nigerians as members.

They are a one-time President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and ace constitutional lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba; Abba Kyari, Benedicta Molokwu, Supo Sasore, Tony Idigbe, Anthony George-Ikoli, Omolara, Ituah, Bon Otti, Olusegun Okunnu, Samaila Zubairu, Ignatius Adegunle, Gerald Ilukwe and two ex-officio officers representing the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Federal Ministry of Finance.

A statement from the Minister’s office said the task force, designed to enhance probity and accountability in the operations of the country’s petroleum industry, was in line with President Goodluck Jonathan administration’s desire to promote transparency in the sector.

The statement listed the terms of reference of the task force to include working with consultants and experts to determine and verify all petroleum upstream and downstream revenues, including taxes, royalties, due and payable to the Federal Government; take all necessary steps to collect all debts due and owing and to obtain agreements and enforce payment terms by all oil industry operators.

Other mandates include designing a cross debt matrix between all agencies and parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources; development of an automated platform to enable effective tracking, monitoring, and online validation of income and debt drivers of all parastatals and agencies in the ministry as well as working with world-class consultants to integrate systems and technology across the production chain to determine and monitor crude oil production and exports, ensuring at all times, the integrity of payments to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

 


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