A One-day Roundtable on the enforcement of the House of Representative Ad-Hoc Committee Report on petroleum subsidy, which exposed the high level of corruption associated with petroleum subsidy regime in Nigeria, was held at Denis Hotel, Wuse II, Abuja on the 23rd day of May, 2012.
The roundtable organized by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) was designed to provide a platform for CSOs to engage relevant agencies and other stakeholders in Nigeria to ensure that the recommendations contained in the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc committee probe report are diligently implemented in the overall interest of Nigerians.
Participants at the roundtable which were drawn from the NGOs, NLC, TUC, academia, the Media and the International Development Agencies among others, commended ANEEJ for the timely organization of the roundtable.
Participants observed as follows:
1. That the roundtable is very strategic at this time because corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nigerian society and that it has denied Nigerians the opportunity to enjoy the full benefits of their natural resources;
2. That there have been mixed reactions on the petroleum subsidy report of the House of Representatives and other official statements made by notable public officers like the Attorney General of the Federation, which necessitate proper understanding;
3. That at the moment, the report contains mere fact findings or allegations, hence, the need to seek veritable ways of enforcing the report through the instrumentalities provided by the Nigerian law;
4. That in view of the present directive of Mr. President that the AGF should formally present the report to the EFCC for appropriate action, it is difficult to determine when the EFCC will act on the report; and
5. That the report failed to capture the relevance of the Public Procurement Act and the Bureau on Public Procurement (BPP) in the entire process and that the BPP presently lacks the capacity to conduct the procurement audit of all the MDAs and lay same before the National Assembly as required by law.
At the end of the meeting, participants unanimously agreed as follows:
- That June 23rd 2012 be observed across the country as a national day of action on the implementation of the recommendations of the fuel subsidy committee report.
- Participants expressed absolute disappointment about the high level of corruption, inefficiency and serious breach of the procurement law and processes as exhibited by some highly placed institutions and individuals that were involved in the petroleum subsidy contracts in Nigeria.
- That the report by the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy is very commendable and thereby call on all stakeholders to make tireless efforts to ensure that the report is ventilated by all parties concerned to ensure its proper enforcement.
- That the CSOs hereby urge the EFCC, ICPC and the Police, as the law enforcement agencies that have the legal powers to enforce the report, to urgently act on the report and exercise their legal powers to investigate and prosecute all those found culpable.
- Participants call on the Federal Government and development partners to ensure that anti-corruption agencies are provided with adequate resources and capacity to carry out proper investigations and prosecution of those indicted by the report.
- Participants further urged the House of Representatives to as a matter of necessity see to the full implementation of the recommendations of the report through their oversight functions.
- Participants commended the President and the Attorney – General of the Federation for the urgent attention given to the report and emphasized the need for the executive arm of government to respect the social contract it has with the people of Nigeria by ensuring that the committee’s report is enforced.
- In view of the present perception which Nigerians have about the judiciary, participants urged the judicial arm of government to enhance the confidence which the people have on it by making sure that justice is seen to have been done when those indicted by the report are eventually brought before it for prosecution.
- That there is need to urgently pass the PIB into law to bring about sanity in the Nigerian petroleum industry.
- Participants agreed that removal of subsidy from petroleum products will not benefit poor Nigerians in a corrupt system. It was therefore advocated that concerted and sincere efforts be made by all Nigerians to curb the corruption presently associated with the process rather than removing the subsidy.
- Participants call on the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Federal Character Commission, etc to take urgent administrative actions against public officers that have been indicted by the report as the enabling public service laws empower the various institutions to discipline or sanction public officers that are found wanting without waiting for any further investigation by other authorities.
- That to avert increase in poverty, anger and high level of crime and insecurity in Nigeria, CSOs and the media should sensitize all Nigerian to rise up to the challenge and fight the ongoing massive looting and monumental corruption which is no longer sustainable in Nigeria.
- That there is need to move from the present import dependency system of petroleum products and work towards local production by taking steps to revamp existing Nigerian refineries and build new ones.
- That CSOs and International Development Partners should collaborate to conduct independent assessment or review of the report to enhance its implementation.
- The participants further lent their voice to the resolution by the two arms of the National Assembly as well as calls by CSOs and professional bodies for the Executive to inaugurate the National Council on public Procurement as a means of addressing the present myriad of corruption in the procurement process.
- That all those occupying political and technical offices that are being investigated should step down from office in the course of investigations.
Rev. David Ugolor, Africa Network Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ)
Dr. Otive Igbuzor, Executive Director, African Centre for Leadership Strategy and Development.
Comrade Isa Aremu, National Vice-President, NLC.
Comrade Aliyu Musa, TUC chairman, FCT chapter.
Andy Ogbuigine, Acord for Development.
Sam Ishaya, CRUDAN.
Ezekiel A. Jamaka, CHAN.
Dr. D. Tola Winjobi, CAFSO-WRAG for Development.
Akpobari Celestine, Social Action.
Adebiyi Olusolape, WANGONeT.
Ikechukwu Okoli, Centre for Social Justice.
Ugherughe Uyoyoghene, Centre for Democracy and Development.
Victoria Ose Ikearu-Udoh, centre for Democracy and Development.
Edem Edem, Green Concern for Development (GREENCODE).
Comrade Nnanna Nwafor, foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development (FENRAD).
Jaye Gaskia, National Convener, United Action for Democracy (UAD).