‘This Is Unsustainable’: Again, Sanusi Calls For Removal Of Subsidy

 

A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Sanusi Lamido has again defended calls for the removal of subsidy on petroleum products.

He spoke at a colloquium to mark his 60th birthday in Kaduna on Saturday.

Sanusi, who was a former Emir of Kano, said payment of subsidy on petroleum products is unsustainable.

“Many years ago, when I was screaming about the trillions being spent on fuel subsidy, I remember there was actually an attempt to attack my house in Kano. I was in the Central Bank. Where are we today? We are face to face with the reality that this [fuel subsidy] is unsustainable,” the economist and banker explained during the event.

Nigeria spends over ₦100 billion monthly on subsidy, a development Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed confirmed at a public consultative forum on the draft 2022-2024 medium-term expenditure framework/ fiscal strategy paper (MTEF/FSP).

“We have a situation wherein a month, the subsidy costs as much as ₦150 billion,” she said at the event held in July. 

“That means NNPC has to use that amount to pay for buying the PMS and distributing it across the country.”

But Sanusi believes that subsidy should have been removed several years ago.

“And when the decision is taken,” he added, “it will even be more painful and much more difficult than if we had taken it 10 years ago or five years ago.”

Paying The Price

A file photo Lamido Sanusi II.

 

Sanusi also attributed the rising cost of living to the increased level of insecurity and poverty in Nigeria 

“It is a price we see in increased poverty, it is a price we see in insecurity, it is a price we see in the high rate of inflation, it is a price we see in the loss of the value of our currency, it is a price we see in the numbers around malnutrition, around unemployment, around out of school children, maternal mortality and infant mortality.”

Moves by past governments to remove subsidy on petroleum products – introduced in the ‘70s – have met stiff opposition and generated heated debates among Nigerians. 

Court Grants N250Million Bail To Alleged Cop Killer Of Subsidy Protester

A Lagos High Court has granted bail to a Divisional Police Officer, Segun Fabunmi, who was dismissed over the shooting of Adedamola Daramola, during the January 2012 fuel subsidy protests in Lagos.

The trial judge admitted bail to Mr. Fabunmi in the sum of N250 million with two sureties who each must have landed property in Lagos worth N100 million.

Although the law says that bail should not be granted in capital offences, such as murder, bail is still at the discretion of the Judge, so the presiding Judge, Justice Olabisi Akinlade, granted the dismissed police officer bail based on his health and his performance when he was in the police force.

Delivering her judgement, Justice Akinlade stated that the defendant was granted bail on the grounds that he has renal failure and would need special medical attention which the prison service cannot afford.

She acknowledged that the medical report issued by the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital on his state of health was sufficient proof.

The court further ordered Mr Fabunmi to deposit his travelling passport with the Chief Registrar of the court, who will also appoint a police officer to verify documents to be tendered.

After waiting for about four hours to evade the media, Mr Fabunmi and his family members did all they could to shield him our camera.

He was also accused of attempted murder and causing of grievous bodily harm on Alimi Abubakar, Egbujor Samuel and Chizorba Odoh.

The same court had recently awarded N1 million compensation to each of the four protesters who were also shot during the protest.

The court awarded the compensation in its judgment on the suit which was instituted on behalf of the four applicants by the Lagos state Office of the Public Defender (OPD).

Trial has been set for 16th of July 2013.

Fuel Subsidy Protest: Court Awards N4million Compensation To Victims Of Police Shooting

A Lagos High Court on Friday awarded the sum N1 million each as compensation to four protester who were shot by a police officer during the protest against fuel subsidy removal in January 2012 in Lagos.

Presiding Judge, Justice Bola Okikiolu-Ighile, ruled the total sum of N4million damages against the Nigerian Police Force and Fabunmi for “recklessly shooting and inflicting bodily injury” on the protesters.

The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Pen Cinema, Segun Fabunmi. Fabunmi had on the 9th of January 2012, killed  27-year old Samuel Ademola Aderinto Abe, and injured four others at Yaya Abata street, Ogba Agege, in Lagos during the fuel subsidy protest.

Fabunmi has since been dismissed.

The Office of the Public Defender (OPD) on behalf of the four applicants, filed a civil suit against the Nigeria Police Force and the police officer in March 2012, for N200 million damages for the killing of Abiodun and N100 million each for four others, who were wounded by police bullets during the protest.

A criminal case against Mr Fabunmi and the Police Force still stands in the court for the murder of Samuel Ademola Aderinto Abe.

EFCC arraigns more fuel subsidy suspects

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned another oil marketer, Rowaye Jubril before the Lagos state high court sitting in Ikeja over an alleged N963.7 million fuel subsidy fraud.

Jubril, alongside his company, Brila Energy limited, was arraigned on a 13-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and alteration of document.

Reading the charge, counsel to the anti-graft commission, Mr. Seidu Atteh alleged that the defendants had between October 2010 and May 2011 in Lagos fraudulently obtained the sum of N963.7 million from the petroleum support fund for a purported importation of 17.3 million litres of premium motor spirit (PMS).

Jubril, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and Justice Okunnu in a ruling on the bail application granted him bail in the sum of N75 million with two sureties in like sum.

He is also to deposit his international passport and other travelling documents in the court and must not travel without the court’s permission.

The matter was adjourned to January 23, 2013 for trial.

Meanwhile, the trial of Mahmud Tukur, son of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and three others accused of n1.8 billion fuel subsidy fraud has been adjourned to December 13.

Tukur is being prosecuted alongside Abdullahi Alao, Ochonogor Alex and Eternal Oil and Gas plc. before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of a Lagos high court.

FG blames indicted oil marketers of orchestrating planned strike

The Federal Government has alleged that oil marketers planning to embark on a nationwide strike action are those who have been indicted by the Aig-Imoukhuede’s report on fuel subsidy payments.

Long queues have emerged at petrol stations in the FCT.

The allegation was made in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Paul C. Nwabiukwu, on Wednesday, which claimed the federal government has stopped paying the indicted oil marketers.

The statement said “it is clear that the strike was instigated mainly by marketers who were indicted by the Aig-Imoukhuede Committee which investigated fuel subsidy payments.”

The statement further said that the federal government has stopped payments of oil marketers that were penciled down for investigation “However, the claims by marketers who have been recommended for further investigation by the Aig-Imoukhuede Presidential Committee have not been paid”.

The statement also called on Nigerians not to be deceived “by their antics”.

It also highlighted the federal government’s zero tolerance to corrupt persons and organisations.

“The Federal Government is determined to ensure that persons and organisations which did the wrong things do not get away with wrong actions and wrong behavior”.

Corroborating the claim, Minister of state for Finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama said that a total of N42 billion has been paid to 31 one oil marketers as subsidy payments.

“In all, between April and August this year, in respect of 2012 PMS claims, Sovereign Debt Notes amounting to N42.666 billion have been issued to 31 oil marketers”.

The minister was speaking after the monthly Federations Account Allocation Committee meeting in Abuja.

Dr. Ngama said that the intention of the indicted oil marketers is to blackmail government and avoid sanctions on crimes committed.

He further stated that the sum of N522 billion is to be distributed to the Federal, State and Local government areas for the month of July.

 

Subsidy probe report: Minister of Justice says government will prosecute culprits

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke has assured Nigerians that he will prosecute all those who are found culpable in the subsidy report made available to the presidency.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke

Mr Adoke, who disclosed this while speaking at the presidential villa after receiving the report from the presidency, said he is taking the report to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He however reiterated his earlier position that the cases will be properly investigated, to ensure that all loose ends are covered.

He said that the assignment will be carried out without sentiments and that whosoever is found culpable will be arraigned before a court of law.
He said that there will be no sacred cow and that government will not witch hunt anybody.

The House of Representatives ad Hoc Committee that conducted an investigative hearing on the management of the fuel subsidy fund recommended that some oil marketers and officials of both the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) be investigated and prosecuted by anti-graft agencies.

According to the report, those to be probed by anti-graft agencies are 121 oil marketers as follows:

1. 17 marketers that did not obtain FOREX but claimed to have imported petroleum products.

2. 15 marketers who obtained FOREX but did not import petroleum products.

3. 71 oil marketers to face probe and refund N230.1billion

4. 18 oil marketers committed other infractions.

Other issues for probe by the EFCC are:

How 3.171billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) got missing. The 3.171 litres of PMS allegedly subsidised were not supplied to the Nigerian market.

Ex-PPPRA Executive Secretaries A. Ibikunle (August 2009 to February 2011) and Goddy Egbuji (February to August 2011) for further probe and trial.

Others are PPPRA’s GM Field Services, ACDO/Supervisor-Ullage Team 1 and ACDO/Supervisor-Ullage Team 2.

Ex-PPPRA Chairman Ahmadu Ali and board members reprimanded.

NNPC should be probed to determine solvency.

Those indicted in NNPC management and board between 2009 and 2011 should be prosecuted.

The report said: “The Committee identified that the marketers were often awarded superfluous quantities of products to supply but often did not meet the target.

“In 2009, PPPRA approved a supply of 11,341,507,500 litres of PMS for the marketers. However PPPRA confirmed the marketers discharged only 5,085, 206, 983 litres or 55.16 per cent under-discharge.

“Despite being aware of the under-performance by the marketers in 2009 or the defect in its procurement process and management, PPPRA increased the 2010 Approved Deliverables to 12,410,955, 000 litres. The marketers delivered only 6,226,586,543 that is 49.8 per cent under performance. In spite of the underperformance, there were no crises of product availability throughout 2011.

“This same ugly trend was maintained by PPPRA in 2011 during which it increased its approved quantity to 13,589,510,000 litres but however confirmed a delivery of 9,317,145,231 litres, an under performance by 31.4 per cent.

“(i) By PPPRA’s representation, the marketers received N680.982billion as subsidy for supplying 9,317,145,275 litres of PMS in 2011.

(ii)Curiously, PPPRA made another presentation that the marketers were paid N975.896billion for supplying 12,488,789,611 litres of PMS in 2011.

“Between (i) and (ii) above, PPPRA has confirmed that the sum of N294, 914billion was paid on 3,171,644,336 litres of PMS that might not have been supplied to the Nigerian market.

“The anomaly is hereby referred to the relevant anti-corruption agencies for further investigation.”

Group to begin another subsidy protest in 24 hours

Despite assurances by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to prosecute those indicted in the report by the House of Representatives’ ad-hoc subsidy regime, the convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), Pastor Tunde Bakare, says the two week ultimatum to go on demonstration stands.

Speaking with our political correspondent, Deji Bademosi, on the programme ‘Politics today’, Pastor Bakare says in less than 24 hours, the group will carry out its threat.

He calls the moves  taken so far by the government as “sandy steps” and we demand “concrete steps”.

The Attonery-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, had recently stated that the federal government is yet to carry any action on the report by the House of Representatives committee on fuel subsidy management, saying the report by the ad-hoc committee is a fact-finding mission and that the reports will be forwarded to the necessary agencies for investigation and necessary actions.

Mr Bakare recalled that during a probe into the aviation sector, it took the government no time before a suit was filed against the former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode. “They didn’t consider the probe a fact finding mission” he said.

He also added that it took just a mere allegation by the Director-General of the Security and Excahnge Commission (SEC) against the chairman House of Representative committee on the capital market, Rep. Hernan Hermbe, before the committee was disbanded and the EFCC is already investigating Mr Hermbe.

 

United action for Democracy calls for full implementation of subsidy probe report

The United Action for Democracy (UAD) on Monday took to the streets to warn the Federal Government against sweeping the fuel subsidy probe report which indicted some government officials under the carpet.

UAD National Convener; Jaiye Gaskia(Hand Raised) At A News Conference

Members of the civil society group, who defied threats by security agencies against holding any rally, converged on Allen Junction Ikeja, Lagos, where they sensitized members of the public on why they want the government to implement the report.

In a leaflet the group gave out to people, it said among other things, it called the immediate publication of the reports of the power sector, fuel subsidy, petroleum sector and pension probes and the implementation of the reports.

It also called for the prosecution and punishment of those implicated and indicted as well as the resignation or sack of the supervising ministers including those of Finance, Petroleum, Power and Information for their roles in the issues.

“We call on Nigerians to be ready to fully resist any further hike in fuel prices and in electricity tariffs whenever such is announced,” it said.

The UAD disclosed that the Federal Government is planning to increase electricity tariff by more than 80 per cent from June and that there are still plans by the government to hike the cost of fuel in what it called the government’s plan for total deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.

The group had Sunday evening announced that security agents had picked up its National Convener, Ayodeji Ajayeoba, popularly known as Jaye Gaskia, and detained him.

Speaking to Channels Television in Abuja, Mr Ajayeoba said the prosecution and punishment of all persons implicated and indicted in the reports in addition to an exemplary punishment to guilty companies will serve as a deterrent to all corrupt persons and companies.

The party leader also called for the resignation of all political office holders who may have aided the corrupt practices witnessed in various sectors of the nation’s economy.

Nwabueze, Balarabe Musa, 48 others sue FG over fuel price increase

Fifty Nigerians including legal luminary, Professor Ben Nwabueze and former governor of Kaduna state Balarabe Musa, have asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to declare the increase in fuel pump price from N65 to N97 by the Federal Government as unlawful,  null and void.

Named in the suit are President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate president, Speaker of House of Representative, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the 36 state governors as co-defendants.

The federal government earlier in the year increased the price of fuel to N97 following the partial return of the fuel subsidy which was initially removed completely.

The plaintiffs who have brought the suit by way of originating summons told the court that by the stipulations of Section 7 of the PPPRA Act and Section 81 of the 1999 Constitution, the defendants are not empowered to validly increase the pump price of petrol as was done on the January 15, 2012 from N65 per litre to N97 per litter.

The other plaintiffs in the suit includes, Dr Tunji Braithwaite, Kalu Idika Kalu, Professor Pat Utomi, late Gani Fawehinmi’s wife, Ganiyat, Shehu Sanni and Dr Fredrick Fasheun.

They insisted that by virtue of Section 81 of the 1999 constitution, the defendants cannot sit as a body or in consultation with one another and validly take any decision affecting the appropriation of revenue accruing to the Federation and, in particular, the removal of subsidy on petrol without a valid Appropriation Act.

They asked the court to direct President Jonathan to immediately reverse the price of petrol from N97 to N65 per litre.

They also want the court to restrain the defendants whether by themselves, their agents or whosoever called whether sitting alone or as a body from further increasing in any form or tampering with the price of petrol.

Presiding judge, Justice Adamu Bello has adjourned the matter till May 22 for mention.