Opposition Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) yesterday warned that any attempt by the federal government to cover up issues in the report of the Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenues Task Force portends grave danger to the nation's survival.
A leaked report of the Ribadu-led petroleum revenues task force says Nigeria lost about N4.64 trillion over the last decade from cut-price deals struck between multinational oil companies and government officials.
The two political parties in separate statements yesterday expressed worry that the Presidency has since tried to "water down the gravity of these revelations". by saying that because the Ribadu Committee had not formally submitted its report to the appropriate authority, the report in the public domain is suspicious.
They described Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as a "cesspool of corruption" and the revelations of the Ribadu committee should provide a window to correct the system. Minister of Petroleum Alison-Madueke told Reuters on Tuesday that she had received the report last month but that it was a draft and the government was still supposed to give input.
But a source close to the Ribadu committee told Daily Trust yesterday that the report was submitted to the minister about two months ago with the understanding that she would study it and make inputs, but she never did up to last week when the report leaked. National publicity secretary of the ANPP, Emma Eneukwu, said yesterday in Abuja that the content of the leaked report is 'worrisome and disheartening'.
He said: "We noted that the Presidency has since tried to water down the gravity of these revelations by saying that because the Ribadu Committee had not formally submitted its report to the appropriate authority, the report in the public domain is suspicious.
"However we wish to ask whether the newspaper report of a forged export clearance permit of more than one and a half billion dollar is also suspicious. Or the letter written by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga to President Goodluck Jonathan, promising to investigate the source of the discovered fake document in his ministry and brief the president accordingly.
"On the other hand, we believe that the people have a lot to fear from the government if 24 million barrels of crude oil can afford to leave the shores of this nation under suspicious circumstances. We are also aware that coupled with the Reuters-broken report of the deep graft in the NNPC, what we are faced with is capable of ridiculing us in the comity of nations.
"The ANPP therefore submit that instead of trying to sweep this glaring and damning disclosure under its long-worn carpet, this present PDP government should own up to the decade-old daylight robbery of the whole federation, and apologize to the hapless Nigerian citizens who are the unfortunate victims."
CPC's statement signed by the National publicity secretary of the party, Rotimi Fashakin, said the NNPC under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) "is a cesspool of of corruption."
He said: "The corruption in the oil industry has reached a crescendo in the 13-year reign of the PDP with unbudgeted trillions of Naira (ostensibly used in corrupting the electoral process in 2011).
"Worse still, despite a six-time increments in petroleum pump prices between 1999 and 2007, the PDP governments produced, thus far, seemed unfazed about hurts and the pains inflicted by the heist and the deliberate purloining of the nation's oil resources under their watch."
The 21-member Ribadu committee was set up earlier this year to assess the ten-year accrued revenue of the NNPC after a week of nation-wide protests that followed the removal of oil subsidy.
Reuters news agency reported last week that the committee produced a 146-page report covering the period 2002 to the present, providing new details on long history of corruption in the oil sector.