The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has alleged that there are ongoing moves to ‘instigate a major cover up” for the House of Representative probe on fuel subsidy and has demanded an urgent release of the probe’s report.
This was stated in a press release signed by the President of the labour group, Abdulwahed Ibrahim Omar, where he claimed that there are “insinuations that unprecedented pressure has been mounted on the legislature from various quarters to jettison the report.”
The House of Representatives committee on the downstream sector was set-up an ad-hoc committee to probe the increase in the payment of fuel from N600billion in 2010 to N1.2trillion in 2011.
The committee swung into action for 10 weeks on the probe following wide spread protest and industrial action following the removal of oil subsidy in January.
The probe invited every major oil companies, oil importer and marketer that have benefited from the oil subsidy as well as government agencies and departments involved in the downstream sector. A host of revelations were made during the probe which was broadcasted live by Channels Television.
According to the NLC, some interests groups, such as oil marketers, speculators and briefcase businessmen who will lose out on cheap money and government officials who have been feeding fat on contrived leakages in the oil industry, stand indicted and might face sanctions based on assessment of their submissions during the probe.
The NLC worries that “these pressures might overwhelm the report of the probe or if released might not be implemented by the executive.”
It also noted that the rush by the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Deziani Allison-Madueke, to set up series of committees and task forces to probe the oil industry, is “tantamount to medicine after death.”
Referring to the appointment of former anti-corruption czar, Nuhu Ribadu, as the Chairman of the taskforce, Labour noted that despite the caliber of people that constitute the task-force, “it might also be a distraction and a ploy to pre-empt the report by the legislature and instigate a major cover up.”
Citing examples of similar rigorous probe into some critical sectors of the economy, but such probe’s report were jettisoned; the labour group warned that Nigerians will not tolerate such this time around, adding that “investigations into the oil subsidy removal was a product of a recent national strike and mass protest by workers and the Nigerian people.”
“Thus, the probe report by the National Assembly will not be allowed to be so treated as the power probe or other probe reports of its kind” the statement said emphatically.
It commended the House of Representative on its stand on the report of the probe on privatization of public enterprises, and called on the Chairperson of the House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Farouk Lawan, to make true his claim that “there would be no sacred cows.”
“We are watching!” the labour leader concluded the message.