by Hauwa Gambo
Controversial Lagos pastor and former vice-presidential candidate, Tunde Bakare is ready to go again.
This follows the release of the House of Representatives probe report on how N1.7trn was looted by fuel marketers’and government agencies. The report has already claimed its first set of casualties with the finance ministry firing accountants and auditors involved.
Speaking exclusively to the Punch, he said his group met yesterday and will be making its plans known on Wednesday. Prominent Nigerians already in support include Prof. Pat Utomi, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin and others.
See excerpts from the Punch report:
One of its prominent allies, Prof. Pat Utomi, also disclosed that some concerned civil society groups had gone far in their preparation to prosecute some individuals and government agencies found culpable by the findings.
The SNG said that it had started dissecting the report, adding that another “Occupy Nigeria”, was imminent if government failed to act swiftly in prosecuting the culprits.
The House report had indicted the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency, Department of Petroleum Resources and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
Consequently, the NNPC was asked to refund N310.4bn it fraudulently claimed and another N285bn for fuel imports above the PPPRA level; and another N108.6bn the corporation paid itself.
A curious revelation was the N127.8bn paid 128 times to “unknown entities” within 24 hours on January 12 and 13 in 2009 by a “particular Accountant General.”
Replying a text message earlier sent to him, Bakare said, “We are dissecting the report right now, and we will come up with our findings and the way forward once we finish.”
However, later on the telephone he said, “As I replied to your text, we are dissecting the (probe) report right now; we are meeting this weekend (Saturday) to discuss our strategy.
“By Wednesday, we will come out with our findings. But right now, we are back to the trenches.
“In 2011, the report reveals that we spent almost N3tn on subsidy, and the ones (subsidies) paid for the previous years were lower than that. Do they think we are idiots?”
The spokesperson of Save Nigeria Group, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, who spoke to newsmen earlier, called the probe report a searing and an open book on the rape of the nation by the organisations, marketers, and parastatals indicted in the report.
He stated, “This is a searing report. It’s an open book on the rape of a nation by mindless people. We expect that the Federal Government will want to treat the report as a family affair, but we (SNG) will ensure that this is the final nail on the coffin of corruption in Nigeria.
“If you recall, the slogan of Save Nigeria Group was ‘Kill Corruption Not Nigerians.’ And this is what this report is saying, if you don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigerians. In the report, in 2009, the Accountant-General released N999m 128 times in 24 hours.
“And as that time, only 36 marketers were participants under the Petroleum Support Fund. How come they suddenly became 128? Does it mean that 128 fuel marketers collected the same amount of subsidy and they imported the same quantity of oil? It’s all fraud.
“I want the executive to be sanctioned for its budget rascality. The budget presented and approved by the legislature in 2011 on subsidy payment was N245bn and they ended up spending N2.6tn. The president must be made to answer for extra budgetary spending.”
Odumakin advised the Federal Government to implement the recommendations made by the House Ad -Hoc Committee on Fuel subsidy probe in full, stating that if they fail, it would bring a revolt in Nigeria.
He added, “The government should be ready to charge as many Nigerians as possible for treason, because during the fuel subsidy protest at the Gani Fawehinmi Park (rebranded Freedom Park), the Federal Government had said that we were trying to topple the government.
“If the report is not implemented fully within the time frame given, Save Nigeria Group will still mobilise Nigerians to come out, and speak up against corruption.”
Similarly, northern civil rights activist and president, Civil Rights Congress, Mallam Shehu Sani, said his group would mobilise against President Goodluck Jonathan if he failed to implement the report.
The CRC, is a coalition of 36 other human rights groups in the north. “The petroleum sector has its activities shrouded in mystery and it is filled with all manner of characters who plunder our collective resources,” Sani said.