Jonathan distances self from Malabu Oil deal
• IYC urges government to stop probe
• Inquiry planned to witch-hunt N’Delta, says group
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has denied media reports that he received gratification before approving the controversial Malabu Oil deal.
A statement by his spokesperson, Ikechukwu Eze, in Abuja yesterday said Jonathan did not send a businessman, Abubakar Aliyu, or any other person to receive a bribe on his behalf during or after the negotiation.
The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to news reports published mostly by online media which insinuated, rather than presenting factual evidence, that Jonathan received kickbacks in the $1.3bn OPL 245 oil block involving oil giants ENI and Royal Dutch Shell.
“We wish to make it clear that Jonathan was not accused, indicted or charged for corruptly receiving any money as kickbacks or bribes from ENI by the Italian authorities or any other law enforcement body in the world.
“We wish to state that the negotiations and transactions for the oil block predated the Jonathan’s presidency, which began on May 6, 2010 and ended on May 29, 2015. It may interest those promoting this false narrative to also know that the documents relating to the transactions are in the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.”
The spokesman further stated that Jonathan did not hold any secret meeting with the parties in the transaction, nether did anybody work for him.
“As President of Nigeria, Jonathan met with the executives of all the oil majors operating in the country to solicit support in the oil industry,” the statement added.
He urged the media to use the Freedom of Information Act, which Jonathan signed into law, to investigate stories before publication.
Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has urged the Federal Government to stop an investigation into the Malabu oil deal.
The group’s President, Udengs Eradiri said in an interview that it was designed to witch-hunt the Niger Delta region, because an Ijaw man was involved.
According to him, it was worrisome that other oil blocks that were awarded through the same process were exempted from a similar probe.