A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, on Tuesday attacked President Muhammadu Buhari, as the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation over the lack of transparency in the petrol subsidy arrangement.
Ezekwesili strongly frowned at the alleged secrecy at the NNPC and called on Buhari to tell Nigerians how much the government was spending in subsidising Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, since there had not been subsidy in the country’s budget for some years.
She spoke at a high level workshop on international anti-corruption best practices organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre in conjunction with Transparency International in Abuja.
Commenting on the perceived corruption at the national oil firm, Ezekwesili said, “What exactly is going on at the NNPC? In this same country, we passed the NEITI (Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) into an Act way beyond the global standard, and this was widely applauded globally because it was robust. But today, even with NEITI in existence, you can hardly tell what goes on in the NNPC.
“Does the NNPC have a functional board? If the board functions, what exactly is going on in terms of the subsidy regime? How much is being spent from the public coffers? Who is making the decision as to what is being spent? At what point in time is the Minister of Petroleum Resources, who happens to be the President, going to tell the nation the accurate expenditure on a matter like subsidy?”
She added, “These are real issues. Again, at what point are we going to get a scorecard from the government on the remediation efforts concerning the audits of NEITI for the many years that they have happened? Nations that decided to tackle corruption made progress within a decade and I know them.
“So, if we want to tackle corruption, we can tackle it. But anyone who is going to tackle corruption must be someone who goes all the way because there is no short-cut to fighting corruption.”