17August2017

Subsidy probe: SNG gives FG two-week ultimatum

Punch, May 1, 2012 by Gbenga Adeniji and Simon Utebor

Save Nigeria Group on Monday gave the Federal Government a two-week ultimatum to prosecute persons indicted in the fuel subsidy probe or face a protest march.
Convener, SNG, Pastor Tunde Bakare, said considering the low confidence Nigerians had in the anti-graft agencies in dealing with corruption in the country, the group was demanding the appointment of a private prosecutor to deal with the issue.


Bakare spoke at a press conference organised by the group on fuel subsidy scam titled ‘Kleptocracy Unlimited’.

The cleric said, “Now is the time to act to save our country from the grip of corruption. To this end, we are giving two weeks to see concrete steps in the direction of prosecuting the indicted officials, failing which, we shall be calling our people out on protest.

“Our message to our country men and women is that they must be strong hearted and determined to take back our country. If our people realise what N3tn can do in the life of a nation, it would not be difficult to understand why we must kill corruption lest it kills us all as it is systematically doing already.

“We have nothing to lose but our chains as we embark on this patriotic and just resistance against the destroyers of our nation. All we must be ready to do is to assert our collective dignity and let our leaders know that we are better than their animals.”

Also speaking, Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, urged Nigerians to be ready for another protest aimed at terminating corruption in the country following the fuel subsidy scam.

The acclaimed playwright said having studied the figures pertaining to the probe, he had asked himself after every paragraph if he was living in the real world or a kind of fantasy world.

Soyinka said, ‘‘The populace should be ready for another determined march on corruption. Nigerians must be prepared to march and come out enmasse and demand a termination to this insolence against the ordinary people.

“Further hearings should be held in public and televised live. We are not talking about any kangaroo trial. No, no, we are just looking for an open examination of what is going on.

“We should not agree to leave further hearings only to the chambers of the legislature. It should take place in public so that we can hear all those who are directly involved, attempts to exonerate themselves or give an explanation with the rational, ordinarily, fair-minded people to see for themselves.’’

He noted that neither the relevant instruments nor the government had disputed any of the figures pertaining to the subsidy scam.

He said, ‘‘We have got to a point that one can no longer use words such as contempt and disdain, we are being treated not even like second class or third class citizens, we are dehumanised.”

It goes beyond insult of arrogance. Just as we cannot recover from the pension scheme scam and now comes this humongous, material assault of the resources of the ordinary people.’’

Stating that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had been overwhelmed with the plethora of corruption cases in the country, the revered author advised that the nation must not wait until the burden would be taken off its shoulders by external courts as was witnessed in the case of former governor of Delta State, James Ibori.

Convener, SNG, Pastor Tunde Bakare, said the group had given the Federal Government two weeks to prosecute indicted persons in the matter or face another protest march.

He added that considering the low confidence Nigerians had in the anti-corruption agencies in dealing with political corruption in the country, SNG was demanding the appointment of a private prosecutor to deal with the issue.

Bakare said, “Now is the time to act to save our country from the grip of corruption. To this end, we are giving two weeks to see concrete steps in the direction of prosecuting the indicted officials, failing which, we shall be calling our people out on protest.

“Our message to our country men and women is that they must be strong hearted and determined to take back our country. If our people realise what N3trn can do in the life of a nation, it would not be difficult to understand why we must kill corruption lest it kills us all as it is systematically doing already.

“We have nothing to lose but our chains as we embark on this patriotic and just resistance against the destroyers of our nation. All we must be ready to do is to assert our collective dignity and let our leaders know that we are better than their animals.”

He said a great number of the indicted subsidy profiteers were members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and businessmen who were donors at the party’s fundraisers.

The cleric stated there must be a thorough investigation of the possible connections between the dubious subsidy payments and the donations made to the party.

Bakare, who supported the recommendation of the lower legislative chamber, added that the group demanded it should not be postponed.

He added, “President Goodluck Jonathan has played the ostrich by saying that no one indicted would be spared. That is fine for as long as it includes some ranking members of his cabinet. Those officials must be punished for their roles as well but they cannot be scapegoats for the big masquerades.

“But is the Commander-in-Chief saying no one would be spared except himself? At the core of this horrendous heist is the violation of budget management for which the President carries the responsibility.

“Any President who says he is not aware of the theft of N3trn for an item for which only N245bn was budgeted is not fit to hold office. “

President, Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, said the whole subsidy issue was entrenched in endemic corruption.

Oke-Odumakin said, “We cannot condone it any more. It is time to wield the big stick. We demand the prosecution of those indicted and there should be no sacred cows. We urge the government to have the political will to do so.

“We call on citizens not to agonise but to organise to march against corruption. This official corruption should not be allowed to continue. “