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CSOs want Diezani Alison-Madueke sacked

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  • Reps spurn moves to get minister removed

By Sunday Ejike Benjamin & Lawrence Olaoye

A Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) yesterday called for the immediate sack and prosecution of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison -Madueke over the scandalous acts of corruption documented in the report of the Farouk Lawan led Ad hoc Committee of the House of Representatives that investigated the nation’s subsidy regime.
The groups decried the alleged deliberate agreement amongst all of the regulatory agencies in the oil industry to keep no records and to distort all the processes aimed at controlling the fraud and manipulations in the fuel subsidy administration.
The executive arm of Government also received knocks for alleged blatant abuse of the 2011 Appropriation Bill leading to the fraudulent escalation of the approved budget for fuel subsidy in 2011 from N245.96 billion to N2.58 trillion.
The groups also decried the complicity of some petroleum marketers who collected subsidy of over N230.184 billion on PMS that were not supplied in the fuel subsidy scam.
They equally called on the National Assembly to pass a resolution adopting the report of the Ad Hoc committee on fuel subsidy and to ask the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC) to commence immediate prosecution of all the officials indicted in the report.
Speaking on the fuel subsidy scandal, Mr. Clement Nwankwo of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), noted that it was deeply worrisome that subsidy was removed by 50 percent from 2011 and N1.258 trillion spent, but that despite the reduction in subsidy, which ought to translate to a reduction of about 50 percent in the amount to be spent on subsidy, the figure has been on the increase.
The rights activist noted that the “mindless corruption” answers the question of insecurity occasioned by Boko Haram, including the epileptic power supply situation in the country.
“A thief is no better if he comes from my village, it does not matter where the President comes from, what is more important to Nigerians is that our economy is being poorly managed. Public officials found culpable in this fraud, should be sacked and prosecuted”, he stated.
He further pointed out that the National Assembly should go beyond their recommendation and bring all the officials indicted in the fuel subsidy scam to account and to also ensure the refund of all misappropriated funds to the treasury.
On his part, Mr. Eze Onyekpere of the Centre for Social Justice posited that there must be a way to guarantee non-repetition of the violent violation of our laws as seen in the fuel subsidy administration.
According to Eze, “those who have abused their offices should leave their duty post so that others who are interested in the progress of this nation to mount the saddle”.
Other members of the rights groups at the forum include Dan Nengel of the Community Life Project, Collins Okeke of the Human Rights Law Service, Dauda Garuba of the Revenue Watch Institute, Emmanuel Onwubiko of the Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) as well as Mkpume Daniel of the Youth Action Initiative Africa.
Meanwhile, efforts to make the House of Representatives recommend the sack of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Dieziani Allison-Madueke, over her roles in the subsidy scam was yesterday spurned as a motion seeking for her prosecution was overruled.
No sooner had the House reconvened for the continuation of the debate on the report on the oil subsidy scam than Rep Robinson Uwak (PDP, Akwa Ibom) moved to be recognised, based on his privileges as a lawmaker.
Uwak thereafter told his colleagues how he has been inundated with calls from his constituents over the House's failure to indict Mrs. Madueke in the light of the revelations from the probe. This was greeted by a deafening applause from a section of the House.
At this point, Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha, who presided over the session, invited Uwak and conversed with him in hushed tones. But Uwak returned to his seat to intensify calls for Deiziani's removal.
However, the Deputy Speaker ordered him to sit down. Deputy House Leader Hon. Leo Ogor took the floor, citing breach of House Rules. He held that it was wrong for Uwak to introduce a matter which the House had not begun debate on. Consequently, Ihedioha cut Uwak off and resumed debate on the report.
Shortly after, another member Rep Benjamin Aboho moved to make the House amend a clause to include indicting the Petroleum Minister. Again, the Deputy Speaker overruled him.
Addressing news men shortly after, Uwak said he had no regrets raising the defeated motion on the floor. He said he was not unaware of the interplay of interests, but that "I raised the motion to save the integrity of the House."
House spokesman Hon. Zakari Mohammed in a media briefing after the House session dismissed speculations that the House leadership was shielding the Petroleum Minister.
"Our decision not to mention names should not be misconstrued as shielding the minister. If you study the report, you will notice that we deliberately refrained from mentioning names because we all know the persons who occupied what office at any stated time," he said.

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