Comrade Peter Esele
By Linda Eroke
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has vowed to resist any attempt by the Federal Government to cover up some oil marketers indicted in the various committee reports on the oil subsidy fraud.
Rising from its National Executive Council (NEC) last Friday in Lagos, the congress faulted the withdrawal of charges against some of the oil subsidy fraud suspects by the government saying only the courts had the exclusive power to make such decisions.
Addressing journalists shortly after the meeting, President-General of TUC, Comrade Peter Esele, charged the government to explain to Nigerians what prompted its decision given the fact those affected were indicted by the various committees’ reports.
“Congress is worried about the withdrawal of the charges against some of the oil subsidy fraud suspects by the federal government and would want to know what has made this action very urgent now. We had felt that this would have been left for the courts to decide,” Esele said.
Esele also argued that the persons presently standing trial over the fuel subsidy fraud “does not represent the quantity and quality of the persons indicted by the both by the Federal House of representatives and the Aig-Imokhuede Panel”.
He claimed it was another plot by the government to prosecute these persons and use it as a cover to hoodwink Nigerians into believing that it was prosecuting perpetrators of the alleged scam.
He therefore called on the government to be transparent in the trial of all the fuel subsidy suspects so that all the funds allegedly looted from the national coffers would be recovered and returned to the national treasury.
“It should be noted that the amount of money involved in the subsidy fraud runs into trillions of naira but the amount allegedly stolen by those standing trial are presently about N304billion. We then ask what about those who have cornered the other trillions? When will they be brought to trial to face justice?
“If this is an attempt to try these persons and use it as a cover to hoodwink the people of this nation, we want to warn that we shall resist it and it must fail,” Esele said.
On the implementation of the 2012 budget, Esele said the congress was fully in support of the House of Representatives’ position on budget implementation, but added that threat of impeachment was another distraction from the pressing issues confronting the economy.
“Thus while supporting that federal government should pursue budget implementation tenaciously, the congress also added that impeachment proceedings will be a distraction from the myriad of pressing issues confronting both the nation and its teeming population that have presently left the masses in the morass of uncontrolled hunger and deprivation,” the TUC president added.