By Jaye Gaskia
Some of the major gains of our January Uprising against unconscionable fuel price hike, bad governance, abject poverty and increasingly mindboggling scale of corruption and impunity in governance must include the avalanche of probe and investigation committees, as well as, special task forces set up by both the Federal Government and the National Assembly to look into the rot in the petroleum sector.
In addition to the findings of the House of Representatives probe of the fuel subsidy regime, and FEC established Aig–imoukhuede investigation committee revealing a more than N2 trillion in subsidy theft alone, thanks to the findings of the Nuhu Ribadu led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, we now know these monumental fraud amounting to over 45% of the 2011 Federal Budget was just a tip of the iceberg of a corruption that has become not only endemic, but also systemic.
According to the Ribadu committee, and in addition to the over $8bn subsidy fraud, Nigeria has lost over the last decade; $29bn in contract and price fixing scam involving oil & gas corporations and is owed over $3bn in arrears of royalties due to the country. Furthermore, Nigeria losses over $6bn annually to crude oil theft, at the theft rate of over 250,000 barrels of crude oil per day (a tenth of our daily production output)! This amounts to over $60bn over the last 10 years.
The implication of all of these is that over the last 10 years of LOOTOCRACY, Nigeria has lost to fraud, corruption and incompetence: $3bn + $29bn + $8bn + $60bn = $100bn! (which @160 naira per $ amounts to more than 16trn Naira)! Imagine what basic services and infrastructure could have been provided with these sum over the last 10 years! How many schools could have been built and equipped/refurbished? How many hospitals and health care centers could have been built, equipped, rehabilitated? How many roads could have been rehabilitated? Etc?
Yet it is important to emphasise that there is no way this scale and scope of corruption could have been perpetrated and perpetuated without the connivance and collaboration of officials of state institutions, including ministries, departments and parastatals! It is inconceivable that the current Minister of Petroleum Resources and chairperson of the board of NNPC is still in office, not sacked and facing prosecution along with the NNPC board after all these revelations! It is unthinkable that all the previous petroleum ministers over the last 10 years have not yet been arrested and are not facing prosecution along with all previous GMDs and boards of the NNPC!
How can any government and any political elite be comfortable with the loss of over $100bn in 10 years to corrupt practices, if such a regime and political elite is not complicit in the fraud in the first place?
Citizens of this potentially great country, it is up to us to take concrete steps to Reclaim our Country, and Take Back Nigeria from these swarm of locusts!
We insist that the current and previous Petroleum Ministers (going back over 10 years) must be sacked and must face trial. We insist that all the GMDs of NNPC and the members of NNPC board over the same period must also face trial. Failing which we must be prepared and ready to confront this regime in particular, and the treasury looting political elite in general, with another round of Nationwide Mass Actions, a new Phase of Occupy Nigeria!
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! TAKE BACK NIGERIA NOW!!
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