Symbol of justice
By Tobi Soniyi
A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain in Enugu State, Chief Stanley Okeke, has dragged President Goodluck Jonathan before a Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to compel the President to remove subsidy being paid on fuel in the country.
In the suit filed on December 21, Okeke is also seeking an order compelling Jonathan to refund back to the Federation Account such sum earlier appropriated and or approved under the sub-head of fuel subsidy funds or money as according to him same cannot be justified in the face of the pervasive corruption, perennial fuel shortage and long queues being witnessed in the country.
Cited as 2nd and 3rd defendants in the suit are the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
He stated that the only way to stop the high level of abuse of the fuel subsidy scheme was for the Federal Government to remove the policy.
The plaintiff is also asking the court for an order directing the 3rd defendant (Okonjo-Iweala) to stop further payment of fuel subsidy money predicated on the corrupt, illegal and unlawful fuel subsidy regime.
Okeke is asking the court to declare that the fuel subsidy currently being funded by the Federal Government is a waste of public funds and therefore unlawful and illegal to sustain same.
He also prayed the court to declare: that the pervasive corruption inherent in the fuel subsidy scheme has caused untold hardship to the masses of the country and therefore is an abuse of the rights of Nigerians as guaranteed by the provision of the 1999 Constitution as amended:
•That the fuel subsidy scheme having failed to achieve the purpose for which it was meant should be out rightly abolished as same has violated the Nigerian people’s rights as guaranteed by the provision of the 1999 Constitution.
*That the failure of the 2nd and 3rd defendants in their ministerial duties to ensure a corrupt free subsidy regime is a breach of public trust and a violation of their oaths of office as contained in the seventh schedule to the 1999 Constitution.
He asked the court to determine the following questions:
*Whether in view of the official corruption and abuse of office inherent in the fuel subsidy regime as evidenced by the in-going trial of certain individuals in the Federal High Court Lagos, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is validly competent to order the removal and or abolish the fuel subsidy scheme;
*Whether consequent upon the perennial fuel shortages ad the attendant long queues on our roads, it would be proper and lawful for the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to completely remove and abolish the fuel subsidy regime:
*Whether having regards to the near infrastructural collapse in our country, it would be proper to re-channel funds meant fuel subsidy scheme into the building of infrastructural facilities, and;
*Whether the 2nd and 3rd defendants being appointees of the President by not ensuring a corrupt free subsidy regime have not failed in their principal duty to Nigerians.
He deposed to a 27-paragraph affidavit wherein he stated that under the leadership of President Jonathan the country now imports fuel from various oil producing nations for local consumption by Nigerians and that said importation is highly subsidised by the Federal Government running into billions of Naira.
According to him, in December 2012 the President submitted a supplementary budget of over N161,000,000,000 to the National Assembly for the payment of additional fuel subsidy money to the fuel importers and marketers.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.