Startling revelations have continued to emerge from the ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives, which on Tuesday turned in the report of its findings on the administration of fuel subsidy in Nigeria between 2009 and last year.
It was learnt yesterday that some of the oil marketers who had fore-knowledge of their indictment offered to bribe members of the committee with a large amount of dollars while others offered the members executive positions in their respective oil firms, in a bid to force them to back down on their report.
One of the marketers, it was learnt, promised to fly in a jet loaded with United States dollars, which it intended to share to both the House leadership and members of the ad hoc committee.
But all the desperate moves to compromise the leadership of the House and the panel were said to have been turned down, a situation which infuriated the marketers, forcing them to resort to antics to blackmail the panelists.
A source in the National Assembly told LEADERSHIP Weekend, “There was this incident where a marketer offered some of our colleagues the opportunity to be partners in his business just for us to allow him get away with whatever his company had done.
“There was another marketer who promised to fly in millions of dollars to share to members of the committee and other members of the House of Representatives.
“But members of the committee did not frontally disagree with them but had to be tactful and diplomatic in dealing with them. While they did not accept their offers, our colleagues were careful not to put themselves and the House in a situation they would smear us.
Investigations further showed that, shortly before the report was ready, a marketer obtained a draft of the report on one of the indicted firms and went to town with an allegation that the committee was attempting to doctor its final report.
It was also learnt that the indicted marketer sold the false story to some media houses, which carried negative reports on the activities of the panel.
When contacted, Lawan said he was not surprised at the allegations made by some persons about the report of his committee.
He, however, called on Nigerians to rally round the leadership of the House to ensure that appropriate actions are taken to sanitise the operations of the nation’s oil sector.
He said, “Nigerians should not be surprised at the antics employed by some people to discredit the leadership and members of the House of Representatives. This is the first time this kind of investigation is being initiated into a very sensitive aspect of our national economy.
“Nigerians should therefore, not forget that the rot in the oil sector is very deep and those who have grown fat on that rot would ordinarily fight to let the status quo continue. I wouldn’t be surprised at whatever desperate measures these people adopted in the past and I am in no illusion that they are going to give up.
“To quote Mr Speaker, ‘we know that these people will fight and they will fight dirty.’ But let’s not rest on our oases.
“I call on Nigerians to realise that there is nothing these people would not do to try to blackmail us or rubbish what we have done. We know that if the recommendations adopted by the House are implemented, the government will be able to sanitise the oil sector, open it up and ensure that that kind of monumental fraud and impunity would not recur.”
Major government players in the nation’s oil industry and several individuals and groups have been indicted by the 210-page report, which the panel turned in on Tuesday.
However, many of those indicted have resorted to media propaganda to save their faces, but President Jonathan has promised not to spare any of those named in the scam.
When contacted on the issue of the alleged dollar bribe, the assistant secretary of the Independent Petroleum Markers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in the south-west zone, Yoba Shinkaye, denied knowledge of such a move, saying that its members carry out their business in strict compliance with the laws of the country.
“Honestly, I don’t know anything about that,” he said.