Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday called for a forensic investigation of fuel subsidy payment by the National Assembly, describing the fuel subsidy regime under the President Muhammadu Buhari and All Progressives Congress (APC)’s administration as fraudulent.
The party urged the federal government to stop lying to Nigerians and tell the truth on how trillions of naira, claimed to have been paid as a subsidy, was spent.
PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, described Monday’s statement by the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Mele Kyari, that there would be no more subsidy and under-recovery as dramatic.
The PDP said: “Our party notes that if the federal government is running away from its subsidy policy, the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources, President Buhari or the Minister of State, Timipre Sylva, should muster the courage to announce this to Nigerians through a policy statement.
“Our party holds that this sudden announcement of an end to fuel subsidy and commencement of a deregulation regime of the oil sector is a desperate step by the Buhari’s administration to stave off an investigation into the siphoning of trillions of naira by APC leaders using phony subsidy claims.”
The PDP urged Nigerians to note how Buhari set the stage for the alleged looting of fuel subsidy funds.
PDP added that in his bid to smear its image, Buhari, while leading the agitation against the decision by the PDP-led administration to deregulate the oil sector in 2012, had said fuel subsidy did not exist and described the fuel subsidy regime and its operators as a fraud.
The main opposition party noted that rather than riding on this declaration on assumption of office, Buhari’s administration “provided official cover for the cabal and APC leaders to use his ascendancy to power to engage in underhand dealings, plunder the nation’s subsidy resources, pillaged trillions of naira from the oil cashbox, only to now turn around to announce an end to subsidy, seeing that there is nothing left to steal with the current international price crash.”
It added: “We ask could this be the reason behind Mr. President’s inability to make any concrete statement on the exposed subsidy scam under his administration in the last five years?
“Could it also be the reason the oil subsidy, which Nigerians were enjoying under the PDP, was adjudged a fraud but suddenly ceased to be a fraud from 2015 till Monday, even when Nigerians no longer enjoyed any benefit from the payout within this period?”
The opposition party said it was now “clear to all why the APC-led administration had resorted to muddling up oil revenue transactions, refused to open up on federation equity of crude while frustrating the free flow of information on product exchange and revenue remittances and why they have been promoting reports on imaginary pipeline losses as well as other opaque and non-transparent transaction in a sector that is directly under the supervision of the president.”
It is also demanding a forensic audit of 60 million litres of petrol that NNPC claimed it was importing under its former GMD, to justify the fraudulent subsidy payout.