Posted by Taiwo Adisa, Abuja | 24 January 2019 | 1,018 times
Senate President Bukola Saraki has carpeted President Muhammadu Buhari for lacking the much-trumpeted integrity adding that the management of fuel subsidy regime was enough to pooh-pooh the President’s integrity.
The Senate President, who appeared in an interview session on the Africa Independent Television (AIT) on Wednesday, said that the much-vaunted integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari cannot be substantiated in view of his performance in the last three years.
According to him, the management of fuel subsidy payments put serious question marks on Buhari’s integrity adding that whereas the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan was accused of condoning corruption when it based subsidy claims on 30 million daily fuel consumption, Buhari’s government had based daily fuel consumption at 50 million.
He stated that massive fraud had dominated the management of fuel subsidy regime despite repeated calls by the National Assembly for openness.
He said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), was cheating Nigerians with not less than N1 billion daily from the amount meant for the subsidy.
He said: “In 2011, one of the major issues of departure with the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, on the issue of integrity and corruption, was on false subsidy. Remember, I got up and raised a motion on the floor of the Senate that a government, saying that could allow over N1 trillion on false subsidy in the opaque and non-transparent manner it was going, especially when we knew that a lot of money that was being spent, was being siphoned, because the country was not consuming the amount of volumes that were being registered; that time, they were registering 30 million litres on PMS (Premium Motor Spirit).
“But experts had done an analysis to show that there was no way Nigerians could consume 30 million litres. Therefore, people like myself, that was where we departed, how we labelled Jonathan’s government as corrupt.
“Now, it is shocking and alarming that the fuel subsidy matter is worse today. Instead of 30 million, the government is saying that we’re consuming 50 million litres. And we know it’s not true. So, money is being siphoned. So, even if you say that Jonathan was corrupt for fuel subsidy that he was doing at 30 million litres, today’s government that is doing 50million litres, what do you call it?
“The worst is that till now, they’re doing it without appropriation. So, my conclusion is that you cannot give them integrity. You cannot. We (Senate), have cried out over these issues, but we have got stonewall. For two years, I have maintained my argument with the executive that you cannot do this. You have to bring this for appropriation.
“We set up a committee to look at it, but in a government, where agencies under the executive are encouraged not to respond or made to understand that they are accountable to the National Assembly, is a challenge. We have done our own part to raise it and to say this can’t continue.
“You talk about integrity; you cannot talk of integrity about a government that allows this to go on. As I said, about Jonathan, we all cried corruption, it was largely on the issue, because when we talk that the country is losing money, the greatest culprit is NNPC. When you are losing about N1 billion on a daily basis, in a government that is claiming to be fighting corruption, then it raises a big question.
“Subsidy, on its own is not where the fraud is, if managed transparently and efficiently. But where Nigerians are being told that they consume 50 million litres a day is the issue, because it is a lie. We don’t consume that much. So, that money must be going somewhere. The volumes involved are huge.
“So, the point is that in 2015, this was what we used to assess that Jonathan’s government was corrupt. So, our problem is that it has not got better and we expect it to be better under a government that every minute is claiming to have integrity, it has not got better, it has got worse.” (Tribune)
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