By Jaiyeola Andrews
Abuja — Following the threat by President-elect, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) to investigate further into the $20bn allegedly missing from the account of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday ordered the immediate release of the forensic audit report of NNPC’s account by PriceWaterhouseCooper (PWC).
Briefing State House correspondents, the presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, said the incoming administration of Buhari was free to review all actions and policies taken by the present administration which it deems necessary.
Abati noted that on assumption of office, Jonathan reviewed some actions and policies of his predecessor, a step which, according to him, was not out of place for the incoming government to take.
The presidency equally denied the allegation by the spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that officials of the federal government were engaged in “last minute looting of the nation’s resources, rushed privatisation of key institutions and hurried recruitment into the public service.”
Abati said: “We also consider as most unfortunate and uncharitable the suggestion by Alhaji Mohammed that the Jonathan Administration is trying to “tie the hands” of the incoming government merely by continuing to discharge its constitutional responsibilities until the end of its tenure.
“The Jonathan administration, which continues to do its best to ensure a smooth and peaceful hand-over of power to the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, deeply regrets the unfairness and combative frame of mind reflected in Alhaji Mohammed’s statement.
“President Jonathan has done his best in the past five years to discharge his constitutional responsibilities for good governance and effective leadership of the nation.
“Without any prejudice whatsoever to the freedom of the incoming administration to do as it pleases, within the confines of extant laws when it assumes office, the Jonathan
“The Administration will continue to discharge its responsibility to govern until May 29, 2015.”
In continuing to fulfil the obligations of his office however, he added, Jonathan had not, and would never condone any form of unscrupulous conduct on the part of state officials.
He stressed the president would also never authorise any attempt to create any problems for the incoming administration as the APC spokesperson, “who ought to know that the outcome of the March 28 presidential elections does not imply a cessation of governance, unjustly alleges.
“As Alhaji Mohammed threatened in his statement, the incoming administration will be perfectly within its rights to review all actions of the present government as it may deem fit.
“We see nothing wrong with that. After all, the present Administration reviewed the actions of previous governments on assumption of office with resultant benefits for policy and project implementation.
“President Jonathan is also deeply concerned by the continuing suggestions that his administration still has anything to hide about the unproven allegation that about $20 Billion is unaccounted for by the NNPC during his tenure.
“To lay the matter to rest, President Jonathan in line with Section 7(2) of the NNPC Act, has directed that the full report of the PWC Forensic Audit of the NNPC accounts be released immediately to the public so that all Nigerians will be properly informed on the matter.”