Kayode Ajulo, a lawyer, founder/ Chairman of the Board of Egalitarian Mission, Africa, a non-governmental organization maintaining and promoting the belief that all people are, in principle, equal and should enjoy equal social, political, and economic rights and opportunities, bares his mind on the issue of petrol subsidy removal and , the NNPC probe.

Proposed removal of fuel subsidy
As far as I am concerned, it’s like chasing a shadow. When I was boy, I always had this funny idea; when the sun is up and you see your shadow by your side, there is this tendency to try to step on it but doing this is an impossibility and that’s is what the government of the day has been trying to do. It is impossible. General Olusegun Obasanjo tried it, what was the outcome?

First, there is nothing like fuel subsidy. What are they removing? The other day , Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said it’s the cost of bringing the fuel to Nigeria and I say to Madam Finance Minister that that’s is the cost of administrative incompetence and inefficiency. Let the President tell me he is indirectly taxing us, I will consider that and give it a thought.

Our constitution is so clear on what a government must do for its citizen. Sec 14 of the constitution proclaims and made it mandatory that our country shall be a state based on principles of democracy and social justice.

At subsection (2) (b), security and welfare of people of Nigeria is so emphasized but are we having that? Every household has turned into mini_local government, everybody has to sink well or borehole for water, generator either big or small; even for security, each community or ward has to contribute money to secure the service of OPC or vigilantes for protection.

Now, tell me, what are the citizenry getting from their government? You can’t send your child to public school, armed robbers and bombers have taken over Nigerian streets and the only thing that seems to connect the citizenry to government is fuel and you think you ll be successful to add insult upon injury by saying you wanted to remove fuel subsidy. It is chasing of shadow, I won’t subscribe to it.

I voted for President Goodluck Jonathan, I supported him and I am still supporting him and therefore want him to succeed. He needs to get his facts right, I am in Labour Party not by happenstance, we are for the people and the president needs to understand what is good for his people, his government is either not appreciating the issue of fuel or deliberately telling us lies.

The whole problem of subsidy came from importation of fuel. How then can we stop the importation particularly when we are oil producing country? We need more refineries. Please check how much the government claimed to be spending on subsidy and find out how much we need to build refinery. The money spent this year alone is enough to build five refineries in Nigeria and I say to you that five refineries with about three we already have will make importation of fuel history in Nigeria; we will not only stop the importation but we will also be exporting refined products. At this stage of our national life , what we should be agitating for is not the exportation of crude oil but finished products, but can’t because of corruption.

This is the reason I wrote the president recently telling him that what he needs to remove is corruption not fuel subsidy.

My candid advice to our Assembly men is to use their constitutional power to do the desirable, if the President refuse to make provision for the subsidy in the budget nothing should stop the Legislators from inserting same.

Audit report of the NNPC, prepared by KPMG and SS Afemikhe & Co, disclosed untidy accounting procedure.

Going by the audit report on NNPC, several crimes have been committed. It behoves on the agency of the government concerned to be proactive and do its statutory work of considering the report, investigate and prosecute where necessary. This is the only way to make Nigeria work, it’s about being responsible for your action and application of the age long formulae of reward and punishment. But if we allow it to be business_as_usual, it will be too bad for the country.

Until we do this, we will continue to have this problem. I am a lawyer and one of my areas of business is oil and gas. I have been severally embarrassed when our would be foreign investors raise, issue of corruption in our system, this is bad for our image. It’s bad for our economy and growth.

Revelations on the fuel mafia made public by the Senate
I refused to be deceived, they are part of the scheme as justification for the removal of fuel subsidy; if actually they are the problem, what stops them from being arrested, investigated and prosecuted? .

This only shows that we are only using democracy to deceive ourselves. Democracy is supposed to promote egalitarianism, freedom and protection of people’s rights, but, unfortunately, you find a situation where your elected representatives cannot come out to tell you a simple issue of what the populace should pay or are paying.

This revelation is not new to some of us. Some years ago, a similar allegation was made against one of those mentioned; he was arrested, quizzed and released by the police. Today, the personality is a celebrated monarch.

The whole issue of subsidy creates room for under-the-table dealings and the best thing to do is to do the desirable: let’s have more refineries and stop the importation of finished products. I am not unmindful of arguments being canvassed that investors will only build refinery only after the removal of subsidy and I say this is another conspiracy to hoodwink the citizenry. How much is the price of fuel before the cost of importation or are you telling me that if you are refining fuel in Nigeria, you must add the cost of importation before you sell it to us?