The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), on Wednesday alleged that the report of the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives was authored by some people who compromised their positions.
He also urged the House not drag the Federal Government and himself into the controversy surrounding the sale of the Oil Prospecting Licence 245 for $1.09bn.
Adoke, in a statement made available to one of our correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Ambrose Momoh, said the Federal Government and its officials only facilitated the resolution of a dispute between Malabu Oil and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep over the ownership of OPL 245.
He said, “The Federal Government of Nigeria, its agencies and officials should not be dragged into a purely commercial dispute between Malabu and its purported partners,” he said.
“We know those who have compromised their positions in order to author the alleged ‘report’ and their theatrical display for the public gallery. We also know those secretly beating the drums for masquerades dancing in the market square. We shall confront them at the appropriate forum.
“How else can one explain why the ownership of shares in a private company would generate sufficient interest among members of the legislature so as to merit a resolution of a committee that certain persons or companies are entitled to ownership of shares in a private company, when the courts are the appropriate venue for the ventilation of such disputes between shareholders (if any)?”
Adoke said when he appeared before the committee, he explained his role in the deal, which was the settlement of the dispute that arose, adding that the committee members were satisfied with his explanations.
Adoke denied making reference to any report of the committee, as none was made available to him.
“It is, therefore, clear that the alleged report and the controversy it has generated is a calculated attempt to bring the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and relevant agencies of government to infamy because of the principled stance the government took to resolve the dispute in a reasonable, fair and equitable manner,” he said.
The AGF stated that the outrage against him was because of his refusal to compromise his office to satisfy the demands of certain interests and individuals.
Reacting to Adoke’s statement, the Deputy House Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, said that the report was a document before the House that had yet to be considered.
However, he defended the content and recommendations, saying that it was the duty of the legislature to protect the national interest.
Ogor added, “The report speaks for itself and it deals with so many issues about our indigenous policy. No foreign company can own more than 40 per cent share in this type of transaction. That was why the committee recommended the cancellation of the entire process.
“Anyone who has doubts should go and read the report; it speaks for itself.”
Information from Punch was used in this report.