By Omogbolahan Adisa
The fraud that characterised the fuel subsidy activities of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is an abuse of the rights of Nigerians by the Federal Government that is supposed to protect them.
This assertion was made by the spokesperson for the Lagos State House of Assembly and Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Information, Strategy, Security and Publicity, Honourable Segun Olulade, Epe State Constituency 2, representing Epe Constituency II, on Wednesday while addressing journalists in Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
Olulade’s statements came in the wake of recent probe by the House Committee on the Petroleum Resources (Downstream) which uncovered that between 2012 to 2013, the NNPC claimed to have spent One Trillion Naira to subsidise kerosene (DPK) that was never available to Nigerians at the subsidised N50 per litre.
The Committee which probed the allegation revealed that the subsidy funds neither received approval of the National Assembly nor disbursed to subsidy kerosene for suffering masses that use the product most in the country. Over the time, various funds meant for subsidising petroleum product have been diverted to private pockets while perpetrators were left to go scot free in many cases.
According to Olulade, “It is awkward and unthinkable that the nation has continued to import Kerosine for distribution to end users in our country. The present administration has shown lack of respect for the dignity of Nigerians. The government at the centre has continued to exploit Nigerians, squandering nation’s resources porously.
“Revenues earned by this country from sale of crude oil have been diverted into private hands, and most subsidy channelled through independent marketers were siphoned between cabals in government and oil marketers. No one has been punished till date to show that President Jonathan’s government is sincere about fighting corruption.
“it will be recalled how this same government made Nigerians to suffer while attempting to deregulate petroleum (PMS) which led to wicked imposition of hike in the pump price of the product that led to nationwide protest in the beginning of year 2012. The same government failed to apologise to Nigerians after the huge fraud on petroleum were later uncovered and neither were the perpetrators punished for inflicting pains on Nigerians. These acts are unexpected from a government to its people, it’s an act of wickedness designed to continue to punish and abuse Nigerians for no sin committed”.
The MD of the PPMC, Mr. Haruna Momoh, while answering questions from the House Committee gave the figure of kerosene supplied in the respective years as: 2010 (2.5 trillion metric tones); 2011 (1.9 trillion metric tonnes); 2012 (2.6 trillion metric tonnes); and 2013 (2.6 trillion metric tonnes).
In the light of this, Olulade retreated that the National Assembly should intensify efforts to ensure that allegations of non-remittance of petroleum product revenues to the CBN is fully investigated and ensure the culprit are brought to book.