This Day (Lagos)

10 December 2012

Nigeria: NBA Calls for Probe of N232 Billion Subsidy Fraud

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ilorin branch has called for a probe of the recent revelation by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that the sum of N232 billion was fraudulently collected by 50 oil marketers.

It said all the oil marketers allegedly indicted in the fraud should be prosecuted without further delay.

Chairman of the branch, Mr. Rafiu Balogun, disclosed this at its annual dinner and award held in Ilorin at the weekend.

He also said any attempt to increase the pump price of fuel would be "aggressively resisted."

According to him, "The recovery of N29 billion by debt swap from the illegally collected N232 billion as stated by Okonjo-Iweala was not satisfactory and called for the blacklisting of the marketers aside from their prosecution."

Balogun commended the efforts of the government to sanitise the oil sector and asked government to be transparent in the exercise to ensure that there was no sacred cow.

According to him, "The corruption in the oil sector is another vexing issue of national importance which must be tackled head on by the Federal Government. The subsidy scam and colossal sum of money lost to fuel subsidy is worrisome and saddening.

"We commend the Federal Government for us efforts so far in sanitising the sector; the prosecution of the erring individuals and companies involved is commendable. We however warned that there must not be sacred cows and the government must be as transparent as possible."

On Mallam Nuhu Ribadu's report, the chairman said: "Federal Government should not jettison the report as it could still be useful in the series of investigations into the fraud and the perpetrators.

"The recent revelation by Okonjo-Iweala that a staggering sum of N232 billion was illegally collected by 50 oil marketers and the Federal Government has only succeeded in recovering N29 billion through debt swap is disheartening."

He, therefore, said: "It is in the light of the following that we call on the Federal Government not to make any attempt to increase pump price of petroleum products because this move is going to stir the anger of Nigerians and will be aggressively resisted even for the singular reason that the subsidy issue has turned out to be tainted with corruption and fraud."

Speaking also, Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, who was represented at the occasion by the state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Kamaldeen Ajibade, assured the people of the state that his administration would always provide enabling environment for the judiciary to promote administration of justice.

The state Chief Judge, Olatunji Bamigbola, described legal justice as the mainstay of the country's democracy and commended the NBA for its contribution towards sustenance of justice.

He also praised the NBA for always inculcating in its members discipline and ethics of the legal profession.Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ilorin branch has called for a probe of the recent revelation by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that the sum of N232 billion was fraudulently collected by 50 oil marketers.

It said all the oil marketers allegedly indicted in the fraud should be prosecuted without further delay.

Chairman of the branch, Mr. Rafiu Balogun, disclosed this at its annual dinner and award held in Ilorin at the weekend.

He also said any attempt to increase the pump price of fuel would be "aggressively resisted."

According to him, "The recovery of N29 billion by debt swap from the illegally collected N232 billion as stated by Okonjo-Iweala was not satisfactory and called for the blacklisting of the marketers aside from their prosecution."

Balogun commended the efforts of the government to sanitise the oil sector and asked government to be transparent in the exercise to ensure that there was no sacred cow.

According to him, "The corruption in the oil sector is another vexing issue of national importance which must be tackled head on by the Federal Government. The subsidy scam and colossal sum of money lost to fuel subsidy is worrisome and saddening.

"We commend the Federal Government for us efforts so far in sanitising the sector; the prosecution of the erring individuals and companies involved is commendable. We however warned that there must not be sacred cows and the government must be as transparent as possible."

On Mallam Nuhu Ribadu's report, the chairman said: "Federal Government should not jettison the report as it could still be useful in the series of investigations into the fraud and the perpetrators.

"The recent revelation by Okonjo-Iweala that a staggering sum of N232 billion was illegally collected by 50 oil marketers and the Federal Government has only succeeded in recovering N29 billion through debt swap is disheartening."

He, therefore, said: "It is in the light of the following that we call on the Federal Government not to make any attempt to increase pump price of petroleum products because this move is going to stir the anger of Nigerians and will be aggressively resisted even for the singular reason that the subsidy issue has turned out to be tainted with corruption and fraud."

Speaking also, Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, who was represented at the occasion by the state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Kamaldeen Ajibade, assured the people of the state that his administration would always provide enabling environment for the judiciary to promote administration of justice.

The state Chief Judge, Olatunji Bamigbola, described legal justice as the mainstay of the country's democracy and commended the NBA for its contribution towards sustenance of justice.

He also praised the NBA for always inculcating in its members discipline and ethics of the legal profession.

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