From DENNIS MERNYI, Abuja
As the controversy generated by disclosures from the Nuhu Ribadu led Petroleum Revenue Task Force (PRTF) which implicated government officials heighten, President Goodluck Jonathan has been urged to sack both the Petroleum Resources and Finance Ministers, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke, and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala respectively. Jonathan was also been charged to sack the boards and management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC),
Pipelines and Products Company of Nigeria (PPMC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to give way for the total clean-up of the country’s oil and gas industry. Addressing newsmen in Abuja Wednesday, Mr. Jaye Gaskia, National Convener of United Action for Democracy (UAD) and leader of the group further threatens to mobilize Nigerians to stage a mass protest in the city of Abuja should the president fail to heed to their demands.
Referring to the Ribadu panel which revealed theft in the country’s oil and gas sector to the tune of over $29 billion to price fixing and contract scams with additional $6 billion lost annually and 250,000 barrels of crude daily over the last ten years, Gaskia noted that Nigeria lost an equivalent of the total budget for 4 years in the past ten years.
We are worried and concerned enough as patriotic citizens of our country to reach the conclusion that something drastic, immediate, and far reaching must be urgently done to end all forms of impunity in the governance of our country, and begin the process of salvaging Nigeria. “We declare without fear or favour that with the campaign tagged, ‘End Impunity Now’ we insist that because of the endemic nature and systemic character of corruption in the country the process of ending impunity begins immediately with the tackling of corruption’.
“And we had gone on to make some key demands including: sacking of the boards and management of the institutions of government implicated in the mind boggling and monumental fraud in the management of the fuel subsidy regime for 2011, a fraud which as at the time of the various probes amounted to over 1.7 trillion naira, and just about 45 percent of the 2011 federal budget. We have been clear about the fact that the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and its minister, as well as the NNPC, DPR, PPMC, PPPRA, bore direct and greatest responsibility in the monumental fraud”, he stated.
According to him, “We had also stated clearly that given that manifestation of the complete lack of coordination in the economy and among relevant agencies and institutions with respect to the management of the subsidy fund, combined with the fact that monies were signed and paid out from the Federation Account without the knowledge or authorization of the minister of finance, who is also the coordinating minister of the economy that her office bore indirect responsibility for the fraud and barefaced looting of the economy.
“We had thus demanded the sacking of all officials so implicated, and the trial of those with cases to answer. Additionally we had demanded that all subsidy thieves and those who aided and abetted them should be speedily brought to trial and looted funds recovered.
The group according to him has maintained its stand that the president should ensure accelerated prosecution and conviction of indicted oil marketers and the officials that collaborated with them to steal from the oil revenue and other sources with all their names published for the members of the public to know them and their level of involvements.
Also in his contribution, Rev. David Ugolor, Executive Director of African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) the groups would sustain the peaceful rally it started around the Abuja city yesterday until government heed to their demands failure to which a mass protest would be staged next month.