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Subsidy probe: Another mass action looms

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  • UAD slates May 1 for showdown
  • NLC steers clear,  prepares for Workers Day

By Richard Ihediwa

Despite the assurances by President Jonathan that his administration will not spare anybody indicted in the on-going subsidy probe, the United Action for Democracy (UAD) has said it is not going back with its planned mass action to demand that government genuinely fight corruption by nailing all those found culpable in the probe.
The UAD was the group that rallied Nigerians to protest the removal of petrol subsidy in January and it is now out for a new showdown slated for May 1, (Workers’ Day), unless its demand for the sack and prosecution of Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke and others indicted by the Farouk Lawan led House of Representatives committee which investigated the mismanagement of the subsidy regime is granted.
The group is also demanding  the sack of the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala and the Information Minister, Labaran Maku
It also wants the immediate and full implementation of the fuel subsidy, power sector, pension probe reports and steps taken to determine actual daily consumption rate for petrol, actual daily production capacity for petrol by domestic refineries; and Nigeria’s actual daily import requirement for petrol.
Those indicted by the Farouk Lawan committee included former Chairman of the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) Ahmadu Ali, and former Accountant General of the Federation and current Gombe state Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo, who was later cleared by the House as well as others including some oil marketing companies.
Already, there are speculations that the UAD has started linking up with other groups of like minds to ensure that the mass action would be as effective as the January protest, which nearly paralysed economic and political activities in the country.
It said it needs more than promises from Jonathan on the issues adding that Nigerians must consolidate on the gains of January protest against the removal of fuel subsidy which effectively led the investigation of the management of the scheme by the House of Representatives.
President Jonathan had on Wednesday vowed to deal with any person found culpable in the on-going subsidy probe, no matter how highly placed.
Jonathan, who spoke though his Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Joy Emodi also dispelled speculations that the Presidency was moving to spare some government officials already indicted.
Emodi said President Jonathan welcome the probe by the House of Representatives adding that he was poised to sanitise the oil sector and to ensure transparency and probity in the industry.
According to Emodi, sharp practices in the oil sector were part of the reasons President Jonathan moved against fuel subsidy in the first place and directed that the rot in the scheme should be investigated.
Emodi said the President had also ordered a more comprehensive industry wide investigation now headed by the erstwhile Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Presidential Candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, a move she described as clear manifestation of Jonathan’s determination stamp out corruption in the sector.
However, despite the assurances, the UAD nothing less than serious steps to sanction the culprit which should start with the immediate sack of Alison- Madueke would stop the mass action.
“Nigerians must consolidate on the gains of the January Uprising for it not to be in vain by making sure that all ‘cans of worms’ opened up by the House of Representative Probe Pane on Fuel Subsidy are not swept under the carpet. The revelations are part of the fruits of the people’s Uprising in January 2012 amongst others.
“We need more than President Jonathan’s promise to prosecute those indicted because he is part of the system. We must struggle to free ourselves from the tenacious grip of the corrupt, extremely wealthy and inept ruling class. Our goal must be for system change, an overhaul of this decadent order”, the UAD said in a statement jointly signed by three officials of UAD, including its convener, Jaye Gaskia on Thursday.
The UAD insisted that “All those found culpable in the fuel subsidy probe, Power Sector probe, Pension Funds probe, Halliburton, Siemens must be brought to book without further delay. The ordinary masses, the poor, toiling people cannot continue to bear the brunt of corruption. Let the Trillion naira thieves pay for their crimes to serve as deterrent to others, who definitely, the people’s justice will catch up with.
However, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has dissociated itself from the planned protest saying it has nothing to do with it. The Labour front said it is rather preparing for the Worker’s Day Celebration. It however said people have the right to do whatever they want.
NLC Secretary General, Owei Lakemfa told Peoples Daily Weekend yesterday that people have the right to do NLC does not have franchise for protest. According to him, “What has the plan by UAD has to do with our preparations for Workers’ Day. People have the right to do what they want. The NLC does not have the franchise over protest”.

Comments (2)Add Comment
Let Nigerians Get Rid Of PDP To Develop!
written by Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan, April 28, 2012
Untill Nigerians home and diaspora conclude to face the reality, of the chaotic streful,psychological wrecking looting of trillions of public tax payers and oil/gas and other revenues belong to the masses of Nigeria,Nigerians shall continue to languish in outrageous poverty,looting of public tax payers funds,till the end of the World.
PDP has held on tight to the leadership of Nigeria since may 29,1999 and nakedly continuing to embezzle Nigerian state financial resources without any repercussions or penalty against the axis of looters,elelction riggers and judicial bribery.
PDP must be thrown away, from Nigeria presidency and state governoship positions for Nigeria to get moving with power development with our natuion's capital projects funds.Education's going deeper into decline,no jobs for millions of graduates,healthcare centres are more or less morgues for premature deaths of our middle ages and youths because, of pDP corruptive system of governance.PDP must go!
Dr Pat kolawole Awosan,
Writes fromCanada.
Wrong Approach
written by seun, April 28, 2012
Calling on the sack of Dr. IWeala is not the right approach to this issue on ground. The real culprit and those that suck the system dry should be brought to book.

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