Abuja — The controversy over the integrity of the Nuhu Ribadu Committee on Petroleum has continued with fresh facts emerging from the Ministry of Petroleum that some data were presented in the report without independent verification.
In a letter purportedly written by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and Olasupo Sasore, Secretary of the committee, to the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the former anti-graft chief cited inadequate time for the assignment as being responsible for the committee's inability to independently verify some of the data presented to it by stakeholders.
"This is our final report of the assignment. Accordingly, this report supersedes earlier copies used for presentations and discussions.
"The data used in this report was presented by various stakeholders who made submissions to the Task Force in the course of our assignment at various dates, which have been disclosed in relevant sections of the report. Due to time frame of the assignment, some of the data used could not be independently verified and the Task Force recommends that the government should conduct such necessary verifications and reconciliations," sources quoted the said letter from Ribadu.
Ribadu and his vice chairman in the committee, Mr. Steve Oronsaye, had openly disagreed on the report last week when it was presented to President Goodluck Jonathan, an episode which was said to have thoroughly embarrassed, the nation's number one man.
Ordinarily, a member who disagrees with a committee's report writes a minority report but it was a surprise to many members of the public why Mr. Oronsanye chose to verbally and openly disagree with Mal. Ribadu.
Mr. Oronsaye had said that the committee did not follow due process in compiling the report but Ribadu alleged that Mr. Oronsaye tried to scuttle the submission of the report and that he (Oronsaye) had been compromised.
Mr. Mal. Ribadu told journalists that Oronsaye did attend meetings of the committee and that the only time he attended was the day the committee was to deliberate on the need for Adax Petroleum to refund $1.5 billion to the federal government Mr. Oronsaye tried to stop.
The Chairman said he wept for Nigeria because according to him, some people were obviously planted in the committee and that those people were compromised. Mr. Oronsaye was appointed into the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation within the period. He is also a member of the board of the Central Bank of Nigeria.