The Niger Delta Advancement Front has kicked against moves by the House of Representatives to summon former President Goodluck Jonathan to appear before the lawmakers over issues pertaining to the Malabu oil deal.
The controversial deal involved the OPL 245 oilfield which was bought by the Italian oil giant ENI and Shell in 2011.
Speaking on behalf of the group, the National President, NAF, Dr. Ikiomasi Wakama, said its members from the Niger Delta region would resist any attempt to make Jonathan appear before the House of Representatives.
He said the lawmakers singled out Jonathan who sacrificed for the unity of Nigeria and described the summons as a witch-hunt that must not be resisted.
Wakama, in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday, 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 it.”
He said the summons was a vilification of Jonathan and stressed that it would be resisted.
“We condemn in all fullness the continued vilification of Goodluck 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.”
NAF noted that a Nigerian court had on January 26, 2017, given an order ceding control of OPL 245 to the Federal Government pending investigations into the $1.1bn 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 also noted that in February this year, ENI’s board of statutory and watch structure commissioned an independent United States law firm to carry out forensic investigation into the 2011 transaction between ENI and Shell and the Nigerian Government for the acquisition of OPL 245 licence in Nigeria.
The investigation, according to the group, examined new materials and more information filed by prosecutors in Milan and Nigeria as part of closure of the findings in December 2016.
NAF said, “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, thereby exonerating former President Goodluck 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 House of Representatives to continue to malign Jonathan and his government on a matter that competent courts and international investigators have carefully studied and given a clean bill of health.”