By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos
The immediate past President of the country, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has asked to be excused from the controversies regarded the kickbacks collected by some government officials in the $1.3bn OPL 245 oil block deal involving oil giants ENI and Royal Dutch Shell.
In a statement issued by his media aide, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, the former president stated that the deal predated his emergence in office and that no where in the reports of findings conducted by Italian government was he indicted.
According to the former leader, “In the first place, we have to categorically state that the negotiations and transactions for the oil block deal predate the Presidency of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan which began on 6th May 2010 and ended on 29th May 2015.”
Jonathan added that all the necessary correspondence relating to the issue as well as the decisions of the Federal Government, during his administration, are in the office of the Attorney General of the Federation/Minister of Justice.
While stating that Jonathan only met with executive members of the affected multinationals in his official capacity, Eze on behalf of his boss added, “We however wish to state, for emphasis, that at no time did the former President hold private meetings with representatives of ENI to discuss pecuniary issues.
“All the meetings and discussions former President Jonathan had with ENI, other IOCs and some indigenous operators were conducted officially, and in the presence of relevant Nigerian Government officials and were done in the best interest of the country.
“We make bold to point out that the former President never sent any Abubakar Aliyu, as the innuendoes in the false report suggest, to ENI, the IOCs or any indigenous operator to seek favour or collect any gratification on his behalf.”