A major disagreement ensued between two major cabinet members in the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, on Thursday, as the two key ministers gave conflicting information on what would be the fate of oil marketers indicted in the probe of fuel subsidy regime by the House of Representatives. The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, in a statement, declared that the culprits would not be prosecuted by the government based on the report of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee, while Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, at another forum in Abuja, stressed that those indicted would be punished to serve as deterrent to others. Adoke, reacting to calls for the prosecution of those allegedly indicted in the report of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on fuel subsidy regime, in a statement on Thursday, stated that the government would need relevant agencies to conduct necessary investigations before it could commence the prosecution. According to the AGF, “government must be guided by the dictates of the rule of law and due process as required of any democratically elected and responsible government. In this regard, the need to ensure that thorough investigations are carried out by relevant law enforcement agencies cannot be overemphasised.” Even as the House of Representatives, in a unanimous vote, approved all the recommendations of the report, the AGF noted that the exercise carried out by the legislature is “mainly fact finding.” He further pointed out that the report of the ad hoc committee and the resolutions adopted by the House of Representatives, were yet to be transmitted to the executive arm of government. “Nevertheless, when the report and accompanying resolutions are received, the relevant law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies will commence the tedious process of sieving through the report, with a view to assembling all the essential ingredients required to sustain criminal charges that may be filed as a result of such investigations,” he added. Lack of evidence Referring to recent failure recorded by the anti-corruption agencies in the trial of some corrupt allegations, Adoke stated that “experience has shown that whenever our law enforcement agencies are stampeded to arraign suspects, the end result is usually the discharge of such suspects by the courts, ostensibly for want of evidence. “Nigerians must, therefore, allow our law enforcement agencies to conduct painstaking investigations that will ultimately satisfy the standard of proof required in criminal cases.” He, however, admitted that the allegations contained in the subsidy probe report deserved serious action on the part of all those with oversight responsibility over the agencies and persons concerned. He urged Nigerians to have faith in the processes being undertaken and to patiently wait for the outcome of the investigations and subsequent prosecutions that may flow from the fuel subsidy probe and also the ongoing probe by the Senate. Divert attention Adoke also reached out to the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) that had given the government a two-week ultimatum to commence the prosecution of all those indicted in the report, else it would call for a nationwide protest. The AGF stated that the threat to embark on demonstrations and strike would only “compound the problem and divert attention, as well as the energy that would otherwise have been channelled into productive use by law enforcement agencies.” Adoke reiterated gov-ernment’s commitment to anti-corruption, as he recalled the president’s initial reaction to the report of the fuel subsidy probe, saying that “any person found wanting will be prosecuted, irrespective of the person’s standing in the society.” He, therefore, enjoined all Nigerians who are concerned about the revelations from the fuel subsidy probe report to be “patient and exercise restraint while these difficult but essential processes are carried out by appropriate agencies.” Adoke added that “as Attorney-General of the Federation, I swore to uphold the constitution and I am, therefore, not oblivious of the constitutional responsibility placed on my shoulders to ensure that those who contravene our laws are held accountable through the legal process.” But Dr Okonjo-Iweala, speaking on Thursday at the ministerial press briefing marking President Goodluck Jonathan’s one year in office, in Abuja, said though the Federal Government was yet to receive the report of the probe, the culprits would be punished to deter others. She said apart from the probe into the oil sector by the National Assembly, the Ministry of Finance had undertaken a self cleansing initiative ordered by President Jonathan, which led to the sack of the auditors engaged by the ministry. Okonjo-Iweala, who said the threat of resignation if fuel pump price was not kept at N141 per litre was a rumour, added that it was the handiwork of people who wanted her out of the way. Disclosing that she was not contemplating resigning as a minister, Okonjo-Iweala said “I dey kampe. I am going nowhere. We will not allow it.” Defending the inability of the Federal Government to pay civil servants early enough at month ends, the minister attributed it to effort to curb ghost workers, which had saved about N14 million for government so far. Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, on Thursday said the House would follow up on the recommendations of the ad hoc committee on the probe of fuel subsidy. Tambuwal made the promise when the organised labour paid him a visit in Abuja, saying that the House would continue to make laws for the good of the country. Earlier, Mr Abduwaheed Omar, president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), had said the organised labour was in support of the House in the fuel subsidy probe. “We want to assure you that the organised labour will be behind you. We want the report to be taken to its logical conclusion; all those culprits must be brought to book,” he said. Also, Mr Peter Esele, president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), urged the National Assembly to ensure that those indicted in the fuel subsidy report were prosecuted. According to Esele, sovereignty of the Nigerian people resided in the National Assembly.