Civil society organizations (CSOs) have decried the hardships experienced by Nigerians as a result of the government’s decision to eliminate fuel subsidies.
The group, led by Comrade Danesi Momoh, demanded that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu punish those responsible for the plunder of trillions of naira worth of subsidy funds over the years.
Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative, Public Accountability Situation Room, Guardians of Democracy and Development Initiative, and Independent Public Service Accountability Watch have demanded an immediate overhaul of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL).
At a press conference in Abuja, the group specifically demanded the dismissal of the NNPCL Group Managing Director, Engr Mele Kyari, for allegedly failing to prevent the abuse of the petroleum subsidy system.
“We can no longer be patient with the President for allowing the man who led the cartel of subsidy scammers to remain in office and likely continue to perpetrate other frauds. They noted that they were unable to comprehend the rationale for his continued stay.
“Or is Mr. President trying to convince us that Kyari could have presided over a scheme of the magnitude that brought our economy to its knees and saddled us with enormous debts without having participated in it? This will be recorded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
“Unfortunately, it appears Mr. President is avoiding the actual issues. He seems more interested in punishing the impoverished than in addressing the problem by sanctioning those who profited from the criminality that ultimately brought Nigeria to its current wretched state.”
The group continued by arguing, “We therefore implore Mr. President once more to allow the poor to breathe. He must cease oppressing us.
Instead, suffocate those who have suffocated the economy. Let Mr. President eliminate corruption instead of Nigerians.
“We urge you again, Mr. President, to dismiss Mr. Mele Kyari immediately! In fact, the entire NNPCL must be completely revised. However, the first step is to remove Group Chief Executive Officer Mele Kyari, whose NNPCL activities leave much to be desired.
“Under his watch, the landing cost of imported refined products was inflated, the subsidy was intentionally overpaid, and we consumed over 100 percent more than our actual daily consumption.” The only explanation given was that the goods were smuggled.
“Therefore, the burden of an undeniable criminality was transferred to the Nigerian Immigration Service, other security agencies, and porous borders. Obviously, there was smuggling, but there was also product round-tripping and intentional inflation of product numbers.
“And in any case, based on the quantity of products said to have been smuggled daily, it is clear that Mr. Kyari lacks the creativity to lead the NNPCL. Why was he more concerned with allowing Nigeria to lose billions of Naira per day than implementing a surveillance system that would have made it impossible for any tanker carrying goods to cross the Nigerian border undetected?
Your speculation is as good as ours. The so-called smugglers and NNPC or NNPCL appeared to be criminal accomplices. Let us also remind Mr. President that he must be aware of precisely what has transpired within NNPCL over the past few years.
“This is extremely vital, unless he has no interest in the Nigerian oil industry, which is inconceivable. Therefore, he must remove Mr. Kyari before he can see plainly the corruption and chaos within the NNPCL.”