The presidency has refuted media report that President Goodluck Jonathan confirmed that $10bn is yet to be remitted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into the federation's account.
Presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, who made the clarification in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday insisted that the president never made such a confirmation. Abati, who quoted the exact words of Jonathan during his meeting with the Nigerian community in The Netherlands, stated as follows: "As at the time, the Finance Ministry was saying they had not been able to reconcile only $10 billion. There are issues in NNPC but we are on it".
Abati further claimed that at no time during the well-attended reception did Jonathan also confirm any "irregularities in the NNPC", even as he described reports to this effect as "completely false and a total distortion of the President's comments.
The statement further states that , "Sensational reports in the media to that effect are reckless, mischievous and unprofessional misrepresentations of the President's restatement to the Nigerian community of the Federal Government's position on the allegation that $20 Billion is "missing" from the NNPC or the Federation Account, by reporters who were not at the event or even in Holland at all.
"President Jonathan's verifiable words while responding to questions from members of the community on the allegation and other domestic issues were clear and unambiguous.
After asserting that allegation that various sums - $49.8 Billion, $12 Billion or $20 Billion - were missing are inconsistent and lacked credence, the President's exact words were as follows:
"President Jonathan went on to say that to reassure Nigerians of his administration's continued commitment to openness, transparency and probity in the aftermath of the unsubstantiated allegations, the Federal Government had authorised a professional forensic audit of NNPC accounts to clear the air".
The presidency further noted that it deplores the mischievous and unethical distortion of the president's comments in the media today, even as it urged "the media to show greater regard for truth and accuracy when reporting on the President".