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Tuesday, 4 December 2012


+Says Labour minister is victim of political witch hunt

A pro-transparency organization-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has waded into the controversy trailing the allegation of N2.7 Billion petroleum subsidy scandal allegedly linked to a company- The Pinnacle Contractors Ltd allegedly linked to the Minister of labour and productivity Chief Emeka Ngozichineke Wogu with a preliminary findings based on available document obtained unofficially from Corporate Affairs Commission and other competent quarters that the minister is not remotely linked with the current ownership structure of the said firm.

The Human Rights group which supports the call by organized civil society community for stiffer action by anti-graft bodies such as the EFCC and ICPC against suspected fuel subsidy thieves, however stated that from the facts it has so far gathered it appears as if some persons nursing Gubernatorial ambition in Abia State in 2015 who perceived that the current Labour minister being the most visible national political appointee from Abia state may be anointed by the party's national hierarchy to contest the polls, may be the persons remotely engineering the carefully coordinated political witch hunt campaign against the person and office of the current minister of Labor so as to cause credibility deficit.  

In a joint media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National media officer Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA also disclosed that it has resolved to file a freedom of information request with the Corporate Affairs Commission with a view to obtaining officially certified true copies of the all the relevant registration documents on the said The Pinnacle Contractors ltd so as to issue final report on our findings concerning the raging controversy in few days time. HURIWA stated a team of lawyers working for the organization immediately went into investigation in the relevant government and non-Governmental quarters making use of our extensive contacts and resource persons and have successfully obtained what for now we verily believe to be genuine proves which for now exonerates the Labour minister of involvement in the ownership structure of the said company and we have also being informed that no member of the minister's family benefited remotely or directly from the alleged fuel subsidy payment said to have been made to the controversial company-The Pinnacle Contractors Ltd.

The Rights group stated thus; “Based on currently available information obtained from some competent sources by our commissioned team of legal practitioners, we are of the view that the minister of labour Chief Emeka Wogu could be a victim of political witch hunt from some adversaries. We know that most Nigerians are determined to stamp out the hydraheaded monster of corruption and economic crimes weighing down the economic well being of Nigeria and Nigerians, but again in making allegations of such a damaging consequences against a high profile public office holder, we must be conscious of the fact that it is possible that overzealous political adversaries and opponents could play on the intelligence of Nigerians to spread misinformation against certain targeted persons especially the current Minister of Labour who has was recently made the Chairman of a White Paper drafting panel by President Goodluck Jonathan to work on the reports of the Nuhu Ribadu-led Special Petroleum Presidential Task force. We plead with Nigerians to be patient and circumspect in accepting hook line and sinker allegations of graft against any Nigerian except and unless there are overwhelming evidence to prove otherwise in accordance with section 36 [5] of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended".

The Rights group affirmed that based on its findings, the following facts have emerged; “that the Pinnacle Contractors Ltd was sold to Masters Energy Oil and Gas Ltd March 2010 for an agreed sum of which payments have been effected in accordance to the sales agreement; that the resignation of the Honourable Minister from the Board of Directors and Shareholder of the said company was duly registered by the CAC on the 7th day of April, 2010 after his formal resignation on the 9th day of March 2010; that after the said sales and business takeover of Pinnacle Contractors Ltd by Masters Energy Oil and Gas Ltd the new owners took over the affairs of the said company completely and ran the enterprise without any recourse whatsoever to the Honourable Minister; that their transactions were sometimes in August 2010, 5 clear months after they had taken full and effective control of the company and that all documents relating to the sale and transfer of Pinnacle Contractors Ltd to Masters Energy Oil and Gas Ltd are public documents and are available to all Nigerians to see with the CAC". 

HURIWA stated however that it was happy that the Minister of Labour and Productivity and the owners of the said company have al vigorously denied the involvement of the current Minister of Labour even as the Rights group wondered why it is difficult for doubting Thomases to appropriately approach the relevant Government offices using the extant provisions of the well considered Freedom of Information Act of 2011 to obtain any documentation concerning ownership of privately or publicly quoted and/or registered companies in Nigeria which are public documents at the custody of the Federal Government which was the same authority that passed the Freedom of Information Act of 2011 into Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.   


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