A group under the auspices of the Niger Delta Advancement Front (NAF) on Tuesday vowed to resist any attempt to make former President Goodluck Jonathan appear before the House of Representatives over his perceived role in the Malabu Oil deal.
Wondering why the lawmakers singled out the ex- President, the group described the summon as a witch-hunt that must not be accomplished.
The statement signed NAF National President, Dr. Ikiomasi Wakama, in Abuja, said “As much as we believe in the unity of Nigeria, we must not also be the only ones to be paying the price because we can assure the National Assembly that we will resist every attempt to make Goodluck Jonathan appear before them.”
The statement also classified the House summon as vilification of Jonathan, who did his best for the country.
Wakama added: “It has come to our notice that the Nigerian House of Representatives, in a show of naked overzealousness and utter disrespect, is proposing to summon the immediate past President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR over his perceived role in the Malabu Oil deal involving the controversial OPL 245 oil field which was bought by Italian oil giant ENI and Shell in 2011.
“We condemn in all fullness, the continued vilification of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the various attempts at undermining a good man who did his best for the country in service and strengthening our democracy and unity as a nation.”
According to NAF, a Nigerian court had on January 26, given an order ceding control of OPL 245 to the Federal Government pending investigations on the $1.1 billion deal.
The statement added that on March 17, an Abuja Federal High Court reversed its seizure of the oil block with the judge stating that the forfeiture order was irregularly filed.
NAF said that in February this year, Italian Oil Company ENI’s Board of Statutory and Watch Structure had commissioned an independent United States law firm to carry out forensic investigation of the 2011 transaction between ENI and Shell and the Nigerian Government for the acquisition of OPL 245 license in Nigeria.
The investigation, the group said, examined new materials and further information filed by prosecutors in Milan and Nigeria as part of closure of the investigation in December 2016.
The group pointed out that the law firm however confirmed the conclusion reached by previous investigations in 2015, stating that there was no evidence of corrupt conduct in relation to the transaction and exonerated Jonathan.
“So the question is “who is after Goodluck Jonathan?
“Against this background, we therefore see a calculated grand plan of deliberate mischief from the Nigerian House of Representatives to continue to witch-hunt and malign former President Jonathan and his government on a matter that competent courts and international investigators have carefully studied and given a clean bill of health,” the group concluded.