The Report of the House of Representatives ad hoc Committee on fuel subsidy, which revealed the criminal looting of the nation’s resources, is a vindication of the Nigerian peoples protest on the issue.
The people had for eight days beginning January 9, 2012 gone on strike, held mass rallies and street protests against Government’s mindless increase in the price of fuel, its decision to remove fuel subsidy and the sleaze in the oil industry.
The Report also vindicates the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) position stated on December 20, 2011 before President Goodluck Jonathan. The NLC had at that meeting in the Presidential Villa made allegations of fraud in the subsidy regime and the manipulation of figures in a presentation made by the Minister of Finance.
In response, the President had asked the NLC to come up with its facts at the next meeting, which was fixed for the New Year, but that meeting never held.
For the NLC, the Report is a mere tip of the iceberg; there is the need for further investigations. For instance, the recommendation that the Executive Secretaries of the PPPRA from 2009 to date be probed does not go far enough. There is the need to probe the oil industry from the inception of civil rule after the rapacious military regimes had departed.
Some of the findings of the House Report show clear indication of criminality; therefore it is not enough for private and public organizations like the NNPC and PPPRA to be asked to make refunds. The Government has a duty to bring the officers of such organizations and their supervisors to justice.
We also hold that the Ministers in the Finance and Petroleum Ministries and their lieutenants under whose watch the NNPC made unconstitutional deductions from the country’s oil income before dumping the balance in the Federation account, should be investigated for culpability.
The massive looting of the subsidy funds and the corruption in the oil industry are sufficient grounds for the N97 per litre cost of PMS (petrol) to be drastically reduced. The NLC holds that if the government plucks up courage to do local refining, the cost of PMS need not be as high as the old price of N65 per litre.
The NLC commends the House of Representatives and its ad hoc Committee for carrying out the probe and mustering the courage to make the Report public. We also, commend the House leadership for its decision to televise live, the debates on the Report.
We are aware of claims that the Committee Report has been “doctored”. It is incumbent on those making such claims to make public the “Original” Report.
The NLC calls on the Presidency and the National Assembly to ensure that the findings of the Report are speedily followed up and implemented. The country cannot continue to be bled by unscrupulous people.