Govs, ministers’ firms involved in subsidy scam — Rep
A member of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Subsidy Management, Dr. Ali Ahmad, has alleged that companies owned by past and serving governors, ministers and top politicians were involved in the fuel subsidy scam.
The Farouk Lawan House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on the Management of Fuel Subsidy had in its report alleged monumental fraud in fuel subsidy payments.
Speaking to journalists in Ilorin on Sunday, Ahmad said the alleged plot to impeach the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, over the report would not succeed.
According to him, Tambuwal incurred the wrath of some powerful forces for not influencing the committee to trivalise the fuel subsidy report and for insisting on openness and transparency in the debate of the report.
He urged the government to implement the report when adopted by the House, adding that Nigerians should insist on good governance, accountability and the implementation of the report once passed by the House.
He said, “Companies belonging to past and serving governors, ministers and top politicians are involved in the scam.
“This is an opportunity for government to earn peoples’ trust and implement the report.”
He stated that from their investigation, if the crude oil export was well handled, the landing cost of fuel would reduce.
He said the alarm by the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, that the N656.3bn budgetary allocation to fuel subsidy in 2012 would run out before the end of 2012 was unnecessary.
Ahmad stressed that with proper management of crude oil proceeds, there would be enough money such that even the allocation might need not be spent anymore.
He added that the government’s reasons that fluctuation of international oil price and exchange dollars equally contributed to high rise in subsidy cost were untenable and pedestrian.
He said, “With proper marketing and management of exported crude oil, government does not even need the budget for subsidy provision this year.
“Lamido Sanusi said even the N888bn will not be enough before the end 2012. They have started. Nigerians should wake up and shine their eyes. Now is April and Lamido is raising the alarm. So we might see another trillion or more before the end of 2012.
“We do not even have to spend the budgeted subsidy amount with good transaction and management of the oil crude.
“It is the duty of all us to defend the masses.”
Ahmad, who is also Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Justice, said what Nigerians needed was good governance, provision of infrastructure, security of lives and properties, functional power, employment and an enabling business environment rather than debate on 2015.
According to him, the debate is a distraction to good governance.
Ahmad said, “I think the debate about 2015 is immature. The President himself said so and if he says something, I think he should stand by it. Nigerians expect governance now and not politics. It is disappointing to me that we are all devoting our time on 2015.
“The President should come out and tell people to stop this debate. Nigerians expect a lot of things from him. He should deliver. We want light, road, good health and infrastructure. These are expectations from our people.
Meanwhile, a human rights organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has asked the International Criminal Court to commence an investigation into the alleged $6bn scam in the nation’s fuel subsidy scheme.
The organisation also asked the ICC to “urge the Nigerian government to recover all stolen money and ensure a transparent spending of recovered funds.”
The investigation, SERAP said, would assist in determining whether the offences amounted to crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the ICC.
The Executive Director of SERAP, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, in a petition to the ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, dated April 20 2012 and obtained by our correspondent on Sunday in Abuja, said the ICC should “examine and investigate whether the widespread and systematic corruption and theft of over $6bn in the fuel subsidy scheme over a period of three years and its devastating effects on millions of Nigerians amount to inhumane acts intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health as provided by Article 7 of the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court.”
According to SERAP, the ICC should prevail on the Federal Government to fulfil its obligations to effectively and fairly investigate and prosecute all allegations of grand and widespread corruption in the fuel subsidy system.
SERAP said, “The reported massive corruption has caused so much suffering, and thrown millions of Nigerians deeper into poverty, depriving them their human dignity, and access to resources and capabilities, choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of legally recognized economic, social and cultural rights.”
by Success Nwogu and Friday Olokor