The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC wishes to state that the recently released report by the Nuhu Ribadu-led task Force is not only a vindication of our long held position that the Oil and Gas Sector is a cesspool of scandalous, monumental and shameful corruption, but that the culture of impunity and conspiracy which this present administration shamelessly displays singularly provides the added impetus for perpetuating the graft that has become the trade mark of the sector in Nigeria.
We note without enthusiasm that the findings of this task force is in no way innovative, neither does it provide information that is fresh and therefore newsworthy. We are aware of the sensationalism and melodramatic media hype and theatrics that preceded and has attended its release.
We however remind Nigerians that the information is only reminiscent of all three Audit Reports released by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which responsibility the task force actually only duplicated. It is also not entirely different from outcomes of the numerous probes by several Commissions and Panels be they Legislative, Presidential or Ministerial, for which this Administration have become notorious.
We reiterate that neither recommendations from NEITI auditors, nor recommendations of this legion of Commissions and Panels have ever been implemented and all that the Ribadu Report has done is to re-echo those positions. The details and now notoriously outrageous figures might be different and the methods adopted by the NNPC may slightly vary, but the conclusion remains the same: that the oil and gas sector is cancerously corrupt, manned by incompetent, dubious or sadistic personnel, led by visionless, insensitive and perfidious overlords and tolerated by a government enmeshed in a culture of impunity which lacks the moral drive to muster the will to even attempt to clear the quagmire in which it is actually a co-traveller.
CISLAC calls on Nigerians not to be again carried away by the infuriating figures and expend their precious strength on vetting anger on indicted individuals, firms or groups but concentrate efforts on the Federal Government to end the culture of impunity by taking drastic and decisive measures to bring the law to bear and implement recommendations of all previous panels or commissions, including remediation recommended by NEITI reports.
We insist that there was before this report, sufficient information for any government serious about fighting corruption in the oil and gas sector to act decisively to tackle the issues by prosecuting offenders, sanctioning firms and firing obviously compromised officials. The solution is not in multiplicity of panels at the expense of the tax payer but sincerity of purpose by government and developing the political will to act.
The issues of corruption in the oil and gas sector are no longer new neither are the reports of panels. The media drama, diatribe, hullabaloo and blowing hot are also familiar. What is lacking is concrete action to do what all Nigerians know needed to be done and CISLAC has not seen what difference this report will make as long as government continues to display a sense of helplessness of haplessness.
The canker-worm wasting our common heritage and the forces insulting our national psyche are not the figures out there or the players indicted but the government that persistently does nothing but expend precious time and resources paying people to do the same things and tell us what we already know and fail to act to bring the impunity to an end.
We call on the media, civil society and indeed all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria to refuse to be carried away by the euphoria of a new report and insist that action be taken by implementing recommendations of all known reports on this deteriorating and increasingly embarrassing sector which unfortunately is also the back-bone of our economy.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa
Executive Director, CISLAC