The Peoples Democratic Party on Monday in Abuja asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress to explain to Nigerians what they know about the N9tn ($25bn) contract scam which it said was allegedly perpetrated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation under their watch.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, threw the challenge at a press briefing which was held at the national headquarters of the party.
The theme of the briefing was, “Where Is President Buhari’s fight against corruption?”
Ologbondiyan urged the President to come clean and live up to his name as ‘Mr Clean’ by throwing more light on the N48bn meant for the upkeep of Internally Displaced Persons but which was allegedly diverted by officials of the government.
He described the Buhari-led Presidency of providing cover for corrupt elements in government while simultaneously harassing opposition figures under the guise of fighting corruption.
He said, “The PDP challenges President Buhari to explain why his anti-corruption fight has not been extended to investigate the corruption from the leaked memo detailing alleged underhand oil contracts to the tune of N9tn ($25bn) at the NNPC and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, which are under the direct supervision of President Buhari as Minister of Petroleum Resources. Why has an investigation into this scam been suppressed?
“The PDP challenges the Buhari Presidency and the APC to explain to the world why his anti-corruption fight has not been extended to the internationally reported diversion and alleged stealing of N18bn out of the N48bn approved by the National Assembly for the rehabilitation of millions of Internally Displaced Persons and rebuilding of six North-East states ravaged by insurgency in the 2017 budget.
“Can the Presidency and the APC claim to be unaware of the motion by Senator Baba Kaka Garba from Borno Central, who exposed how persons, known to have connections with the APC, fraudulently cornered N1.2bn from the Federal Government under the guise of supplying items to the IDPs?”
Ologbondiyan also tasked President Buhari in his capacity as substantive minister of petroleum resources to speak up on the secrecy surrounding subsidy payment for Premium Motor Spirit, noting that the N58 fuel tax being paid by Nigerians under his stewardship called for soul-searching.
He said, “The PDP challenges President Buhari to explain to Nigerians whose interest he is protecting by refusing to allow an independent inquest into the alleged corruption in the handling of the N1.4tn oil subsidy regime allegedly involving officials at the Presidency, particularly those benefiting from alleged N58 hidden tax per liter which Nigerians have continued to bear since the fuel price increased from PDP subsidised cost of N87 to presumably unsubsidised cost of N145.”
“Can the Buhari Presidency and the APC claim to be unaware of the damning report by the United Nations Development Programme, a public document which detailed how officials were using the bulk of the resources meant for the IDPs on contracts that were found to have immensely benefitted officials of the APC government including the sacked Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal?
Ologbondiyan said that it was worrisome that President Buhari decided to keep silent on the certificate scams involving key appointees of his government.
The PDP fingered Obono-Obla, President Buhari’s Special Assistant on Prosecution and Chairman, Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property and Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun in this regard.
The PDP further said the Presidency was seeking to force “the reopening of the Senate contrary to Section 12 of the Senate Standing Rules for which the Presidency and the APC are offering lawmakers from both chambers an inducement of the sum of $1m each with the aim of impeaching Senate President Bukola Saraki and Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
However, the All Progressives Congress has accused the PDP of trying to scuttle the 2019 elections.
The APC said this in a statement signed by its Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nebena in Abuja, on Monday.
Nabena said, “The PDP is trying very hard to scuttle the 2019 general election but we will resist it. The party is afraid that it will be defeated at the polls that is why it is using the National Assembly to frustrate efforts to approve funds for INEC.
“They are merely whipping up sentiments but Nigerians will never believe them.
“If indeed the opposition party is truly sincere about preparations for the next election, it would not be raising issues against the call by APC lawmakers for the National Assembly to be reconvened.”
The statement further read, “APC believes in the rule of law and will not emulate what the PDP did in its 16 years of reign to manipulate the system. If truly the leadership of the National Assembly is working in the interest of Nigerians, are they not supposed to make the passage of INEC budget a priority? Will proceeding on recess be more important?”
The APC Spokesman also debunked PDP’s allegations that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is covering up corruption.
He challenged the opposition party to present facts to support its claims.