By Umar Muhammad Puma
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently speak out and take action on the monumental Malabu oil scandal that is rocking his Administration and again putting Nigeria under the global searchlight as a corrupt nation.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said President Jonathan must end his silence on the matter since half of the 1.1 billion US dollars paid to Malabu Oil and gas for oil field OPL 245 by two oil majors was allegedly used to bribe Nigerian officials who in turn used the proceeds to buy private jets and armoured limousines.
It said that since the deal to pay Malabu the huge funds was brokered and passionately defended by the Jonathan Administration, it stands to reason that officials of the same Administration will know one or two things, and perhaps are part and parcel, of the whole scandal.
‘’The only way to know for sure is if there is an independent investigation of the allegation, which has been published by the international media after Italian prosecutors intensified their probe into the deal. This is where President Jonathan comes in: He must allow an unfettered probe of this scandal that has again put Nigeria in bad light. Whatever happens, however, the names of those who received the bribes will soon be known, thanks to the determination of the UK and Italy to show that no one who violates their laws will go scot-free.
‘’Just like the Halliburton and Siemens bribery scandals that were also exposed from abroad, this Malabu scandal has again damaged Nigeria’s standing in the comity of nations. While US, France, Italy and Germany have jailed officials and imposed fines on the foreign firms that gave bribes to Nigerian officials in the Halliburton and Siemens scandals, none of those who received the bribes here in Nigeria has been touched. The Malabu scandal must not go the same way,’’ APC said.
The party said Nigeria has never had it as bad, in terms of runaway corruption that has cost the nation billions of dollars in money that would have gone into national development, as it is having under the prodigiously-corrupt Jonathan Administration.
‘’There is no better way to say this. The Jonathan Administration is swimming in corruption and the President has contumaciously allowed it to fester because his government is feeding fat on the proceeds of graft. He has even tried to use semantics to cover up the extent of sleaze, saying stealing is not corruption,’’ it said.