Labour, ANEEJ demand Obasanjo, Alison-Madueke, Aganga, Oniwon, others prosecution over subsidy scam

The organized Labour has called on the Federal Government to fully implement the recommendations contained in the report of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management and ensure that all officials indicted are prosecuted and brought to justice.
In the report, the committee found past and incumbent boards and managements of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiary responsible for the marketing and distribution of petroleum products, the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), as well as the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) culpable for various corruption activities.
Consequently, it recommended the refund to government of about N1.07 trillion of fuel subsidies, including NNPC N705 billion; PPPRA N312 billion, and petroleum products marketers N8.7 billion, while companies that refused to appear during the investigations would pay back N41.9billion.
In addition, the Farouk Lawan-led committee called for not only a “complete overhaul” of the NNPC, but also the immediate sack of its current board and management, led by its Group Managing Director, Austen Oniwon.
However, Acting General Secretary, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Owei Lakemfa, in a statement today in Abuja government asked government to go beyond these institutions and ensure that Ministers of Finance and their counterparts in the Petroleum Ministry as well as their aides who presided over the era of the “criminal looting of the nation’s resources” be probed.
“Some of the findings of the House Report show clear indication of criminality,” Mr. Lakemfa said. “Therefore, it is not enough for private and public organizations like the NNPC and PPPRA to be asked to make refunds. The Government has a duty to bring the officers of such organizations and their supervisors to justice.
“We also hold that the Ministers in the Finance and Petroleum Ministries and their lieutenants under whose watch the NNPC made unconstitutional deductions from the country’s oil income before dumping the balance in the Federation account, should be investigated for culpability.”
In the same token, a Benin-based civil society group, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) has joined in the call for President Jonathan to sum up courage and fire his Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Aliso-Madueke for misleading him on the decision on fuel subsidy removal last January.
With committee’s work spanning the period between 2009 and 2011, indications are that those the Labour Movement wants probed include Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was the defacto Minister of Petroleum Resources throughout his tenure; Rilwanu Lukman (December 18, 2008 to March 2010) and Diezani Alison-Madueke, who took over on April 6, 2010.
Also to be affected are Mansur Muhtar, who served as Minister of Finance between December 17, 2008 and March 2010, and Segun Aganga, who succeeded him between April 6, 2010 and June 2011 as well as the incumbent, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
From the NNPC, the list of people that may be affected include Mohammed Barkindo, who served as the Group Managing Director between January 12, 2009 and April 2010, handed over to Shehu Ladan, who died recently, with Austen Oniwon, as his since May 17, 2010.
Apart from the former Chairman of the People Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmadu Ali, who served as the Chairmen of the Board of the PPPRA until last year, also to be affected by the probe are the agency’s former Executive Secretary, Abiodun Ibikinle and Goody Egbuji, who succeeded him and the incumbent in office, Reginald Stanley.
Claiming vindication of the people for embarking on last January nationwide protest against government’s decision to remove subsidy on petrol, Mr. Lakemfa said the committee findings have helped clear the doubts over NLC’s position during a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan on December 20, 2011 in which it alleged large-scale fraud in the subsidy regime as well as manipulation of figures presented by the then Minister of Finance.
“For the NLC, the Report is a mere tip of the iceberg,” he said. “There is the need for further investigations.  For instance, the recommendation that the Executive Secretaries of the PPPRA from 2009 to date be probed does not go far enough. There is the need to probe the entire oil industry from the inception of civil rule after the military regimes had departed.”
Pointing out that the massive looting of the subsidy funds and the corruption in the oil industry are enough justification to demand a drastic reduction in the cost of a litre of petrol below the current N97, the NLC argued that if government is determined to embark on local refining of petroleum products, the price would go further down to the old price of N65.
Meanwhile, ANEEJ asked the President to sum up courage and fire his Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke for misleading him on the decision on fuel subsidy removal last January.
“The House of Represenatives Committee Report has further confirmed the rot, and mindless corruption that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources signposts,” Executive Director, ANEEJ, David Ugolor, said in a statment. “It exposes the fact that the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, has been presiding over sleaze and she has no option now but to take the path of honour.
“By now, it should be clear to President Goodluck Jonathan that he was misled on the issue of fuel subsidy removal on January 1. We expect Mr. President to do what is needful this time around and demonstrate to the whole world that he is truly committed to fighting corruption in the oil and gas sector. He should be courageous enough to fire the Petroleum Minister so that Nigerians could be convinced that there are no sacred cows in his cabinet.”

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