Fuel Subsidy Fallout: Combat Corruption, Sack Okonjo-Iweala, Allison-Madueke, Civil Society Organizations Tell Jonathan

By SaharaReporters, New York

Civil Society organizations reaction to the Report of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee which investigated the controversial subsidy on petroleum products in the country, have called on President Goodluck Jonathan to take action to sanitize the situation in the country.

At a press conference in Abuja today, the United Action for Democracy (UAD) said that the revelations that emanated from the probe by the Representatives confirmed its position of and that of the mass of Nigerians that it was the corrupt enrichment of a minority and not the affordability of fuel for the vast majority of Nigerians that was being subsidized

The UAD therefore called for the prosecution of all the individuals and corporate bodies found to have been the beneficiaries of the supposed ‘subsidy’. “Further, we call we call for the immediate resignation or sacking of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Minister of Finance, Diezani Allison-Madueke, Minister of Petroleum, and Labaran Maku, the Minister of Information for their demonstrated culpability by acts of omission or commission in the fuel subsidy, the anti people hike in the price of petrol and the conscious promotion of lies to cover up the truth,” the group said.

And in a press statement in Benin City, the Executive Director of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Rev. David Ugolor, said the report of the committee further confirmed the rot and mindless corruption represented by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. “ 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,” he declared.

He said it ought to be clear to President Jonathan by now that he was misled on the issue of fuel subsidy removal on January 1, but that the people of Nigeria have now triumphed over the negative forces in government and Mr. Jonathan should demonstrate his commitment to fighting corruption in the sector. “He should get his anti-graft agencies to prosecute all those linked with this monumental fraud that led to the crisis of confidence between Nigerians and his administration,” he said. “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.”

In the same vein, the UAD said at the press conference that it has closely been observing the evolving situation in the country with respect to growing impunity on the part of those in government, growing poverty in the midst of plenty, and growing insecurity across the country.

It noted that at its recent extraordinary and expanded session of its National Coordinating Council held in Lagos in March, the UAD reflected on the January uprising and the state of the nation, towards consolidating on the gains won by the popular masses.

“The January uprising was a popular upheaval of the poor and suffering Nigerian against the dire and worsening state of poverty, corruption and impunity in high places and disillusionment with the ruling elite in Nigeria which was ignited by the hike in fuel price,” the body said. Despite the premature suspension of the general strike at its peak by the labour movement, which UAD considered to be unfortunate, it said the outcome was a partial victory and Nigerian people victorious because they dared to struggle.

UAD said that with the realization that the Nigerian State remained committed to further hiking the price of petrol, it will henceforth commence intensive mobilization in preparation for mass mobilization in preparation for mass revolutionary action against this and other anti people policy and for system change.

Among others, UAD called for the immediate release, full publication and implementation of the reports of the power sector, fuel subsidy, petroleum sector and pension probes; prosecution and punishment of those implicated and indicted; exemplary punishment to guilty companies; and immediate steps taken to determine actual daily consumption rate for petrol; actual daily production capacity for petrol by domestic refineries; and actual daily production capacity of domestic refineries.

Also speaking in Benin City today, ANEEJ’s Policy Officer, Mr. Innocent Edemhanria said it was gratifying that one of the recommendations in the House committee report is the immediate unbundling of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which the Petroleum Industry Bill seeks to achieve.

“The passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill into law will complement the effectiveness of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative(NEITI) Secretariat which recent 2006 – 2008 audit reports confirmed the urgent need to reform the oil and gas sector in Nigeria so as to create the enabling environment for all stakeholders,’’ Edemhanria stressed.

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