National Assembly Coimplex
By Paul Obi
As a follow up to last January’s mass protest staged by the organised labour over the increase in the pump price of petrol, some civil society organisations are planning to embark on another mass protest across the country to push for the full implementation of the fuel subsidy report by the House of Representatives notwithstanding the scandals that have bedeviled the report.
Addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, the Executive Director of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Rev. David Ugolor argued that given the series of revelations in the report, confirming the views of Nigeria about the massive corruption in the oil sector, President Goodluck Jonathan and members of the National Assembly are under compulsion to ensure that the report is implemented.
According to him, “the management of the fuel subsidy regime, is such that more than 1.7 trillion naira, that is about 40% of the 2011 Federal Budget, has been lost to fraud and other corrupt practices; it becomes very clear that corruption has become the single most significant impediment to the guarantee of citizens’ welfare, development of the national economy and achievement of national security.”
The group under the auspices of End Impunity Now Campaign maintained that the outcome of the report calling for the prosecution of indicted persons and companies involved in the fuel subsidy scam should not be muddled up with the cash-for-clearance bribery allegation labelled against Hon. Farouk Lawam and other members of the committee.
“We are of the opinion, and thus insist that two separate issues are involved here, and both issues should be addressed separately on their own merits, and on the basis of the same principles and standard. There is on the one hand the gargantuan looting of the treasury revealed in the probe report; and there is also on the other hand, the revelations concerning allegations of soliciting for and receiving bribe by chair and secretary of the Ad-Hoc Committee probing the fraud.” In the same vein, Convener of the United Action for Democracy (UAD) Jaye Gaskia observed that the Jonathan administration will be adjudged by the importance he attach to the calls for full implementation of the fuel probe report.
He added that “we are of the opinion that the relevant agencies, including the SSS, Police and the EFCC should immediately ensure a thorough investigation of the allegations and the prosecution and punishment of any indicted culprits.”
Also speaking, Chairman of the Joint Action Front, Abuja Chapter, Ezenwa Nwagwu said if the president can afford to sack the Minister of Defense and National Security Adviser (NSA) on issues bordering on insecurity, “we therefore want the president to do the same to those who assist in the looting of the nation’s treasury, we want them sack so that we can breath fresh air as well,” Nwagwu added.
To that end, the group said it will organized a national mass rally against corruption this week to express its grievances, “we shall march on NNPC, Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General nd occupy EFCC, until we receive a concrete affirmation that our demands shall be made,” they stressed.
They also called on Nigerians to come out enmasse to begin the first in a series of steps aimed at taking back the country from corrupt elements in government and the private sector.