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Prosecute fuel subsidy scammers now

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The report submitted by the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives that probed the fuel subsidy regime has afforded  the Jonathan presidency whose anti-corruption effort has been lacklustre so far, an opportunity to redeem itself in that direction. It has given the government of the day a rare chance to walk its talk about the fight against all manner of graft and corruption.
We are, however, sceptical of the current regime’s anti –corruption stand on account of the foot-dragging by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Bello Adoke. Speaking last week, the Minister dampened the enthusiasm of a majority of Nigerians who had hoped for a possible prosecution of the culprits by saying that the federal government has no plans to do what they yearn for concerning the probe report.
Adoke’s disposition though did not altogether come as a surprise considering that President Goodluck Jonathan’s Political Adviser, Ahmed Gulak, had earlier dismissed the report as “shallow”, thereby preparing the grounds for possibly “sweeping under the carpet” recommendations of the report.
Our position is buttressed by allegations that most of the beneficiaries of the massive scam that is the fuel subsidy regime are companies that contributed significantly to the presidential electioneering campaign of the current occupant of Aso Rock.
The Save Nigeria Group (SNG) alleged in a widely circulated statement last Sunday   that the individuals and corporate bodies indicted by the report are big donors to Jonathan’s campaign. Since that charge was made, the Presidency has kept a deafening silence, fuelling and lending credence to the allegations. 
While the probe lasted, in full public glare, having been captured and brought to most homes by television cameras, Nigerians were treated to a sickening tale of sleaze and outright theft of the common patrimony. It was revealed in graphic detail that several companies, some of them unregistered, had benefitted from subsidy advanced for fuel imports not delivered.
Notwithstanding the body language of the two presidential aides, we hold the President by his word that no culprit in the fuel subsidy fraud will go unpunished. Cynics are wont to dismiss the presidential assertion as unconvincing, given similar vows in the past that disappeared as quickly as they came. However, we at Peoples Daily believe that the President can walk his talk and rise to the occasion of battling graft and corruption. History beckons.
On this matter, the president cannot afford to quibble such as he has been doing on the question whether or not  he will stand for re-election in 2015. Unfortunately for him, on the anti-graft war effort he has more than Nigerians to bother about. The international community, too, is watching.

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