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Petrol subsidy: $7bn diversion height of corruption under Buhari – HURIWA

  By John Owen Nwachukwu   Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Thursday, said the alleged diversion of $7 billion p...


By John Owen Nwachukwu


Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Thursday, said the alleged diversion of $7 billion petrol subsidy under the regime of the President Muhammadu Buhari is the very height of gargantuan corruption that has infested the present administration in the past seven years.


HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, urged civil society organisations and rights activists to drag the Buhari regime to court to put an end to the criminal corruption ongoing in the present administration.


The group also said it is heartless of government officials to divert a whopping $7bn meant for subsidy payment on Premium Motor Spirit whilst Nigerians groan of fuel scarcity and hike in prices of petrol (now over N180 per litre) and diesel (which now sells at over N800 per litre).


Recall that the House of Representatives set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the petroleum products subsidy regime under Buhari from 2017 to 2021, following the adoption of the motion by Hon Sergius Ose Ogun.


The lawmaker had said there exist evidence that subsidy amounts are being duplicated, noting that the subsidy regime has been “unscrupulously” used by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and other stakeholders to subvert the nation’s crude oil revenue to the tune of over $10 billion, with records showing that as at 2021, over $7bn in over 120 million barrels have been so diverted.


NNPC also recently said it spent N9.11bn in each of the months of January, March and April, amounting to N27.33bn to rehabilitate the nation’s refineries that haven’t produced a single drop of oil since only God knows.


Reacting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The claim of the House of Representatives on diversion of petrol subsidy to the tune of $7bn if established and substantiated is another proof that the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari is infested with corrupt criminals and thieves but who pretend to be saints.


“It is altogether befuddling that the more the government spends, the worst and most dysfunctional the refineries become which simply explains the fact that the funds are being siphoned.


“The government blame subsidy for our economic mess and the non availability of sufficient petrol whereas these humongous cash are diverted to the pockets of individuals who take delight in watching common Nigerians groan at filling stations and buying fuel at exorbitant rates after hours of queueing under intense sun.


“It is just unfortunate that the Buhari government has condoned corruption so much that it has become daily affairs. The case of the suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; the disgraced immediate-past Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Mohammed; amongst others suffice.


“HURIWA warns the House of Representatives not to use this investigative hearing as a blackmailing opportunity to raise dollars for their political campaigns which start in September. This is because there have been many probes by this same legislature since 2019 with no results to show but smokescreen to collect bribes.


“HURIWA also enjoins civil society organisations to drag the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to court for not doing its work. Also, the NNPC should be joined in the suit and should be made to explain how every kobo was spent.


“The NNPC Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, if he has any shame at all, should resign if it is substantiated that he failed to transparently declare how monies on petrol subsidy are spent and how $7bn got diverted under him.”


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