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Atiku Want Tinubu Government Investigated On Fuel Subsidy Payment

 Olushola Bello

The 2023 Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has call on the National Assembly to investigate the alleged secret petrol subsidy under the President Bola Tinubu administration.

His call came as his party, the PDP, demanded an open investigation into the reported reintroduction of the petrol subsidy.

Atiku, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, on Thursday, urged the Federal Government to demonstrate bravery in taking ownership of its policies and their consequences and be accountable to Nigerians.

According to The Punch On Wednesday, Atiku challenged Tinubu’s administration to cease what he alleged was misleading the public about its stance on petrol subsidy.

He stated that despite Tinubu’s public statements regarding petrol subsidy removal, the administration had been covertly disbursing trillions of naira for petrol subsidy.

A document leaked to the media on Wednesday showed that the Federal Government spent N3.6tn in 2023 on subsidy and projected to spend N5.4tn in 2024.

The document’s position was contrary to the declaration by Tinubu during his inaugural speech as president on May 29, 2023, where he declared, “Subsidy is gone.”

The Presidency,  on Thursday, however, debunked the document in a statement by the Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga.

Latching on to the back and forth by the Presidency on the subsidy issue and the secrecy with which it had been shrouded, Atiku accused the Federal Government of diverting public funds through subsidy, a reason he said the government had refused to reveal how much was being spent.

The former vice president said the clandestine subsidy regime was one of the reasons investments in the oil sector had refused to come in.

“Tinubu has brought the shady nature of running Lagos to the federal level. He claims subsidy is gone but his Special Adviser on Energy, Olu Verheijen, says they are intervening from time to time, while his Finance Minister, Wale Edun, described subsidy removal as an ‘ongoing process’.

“A document authored by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy revealing how much subsidy is being paid is now being disowned by the very authors of the document.

“Both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have revealed in separate reports that Nigeria is still paying petrol subsidies, but the Tinubu government refuses to come clean. Even a senior member of the APC had revealed that the subsidy was being paid.

“For a man who claims to be on a mission to attract foreign direct investment, it is ironic that he cannot see that his policy flip-flops and lies are capable of dissuading investors. He must come clean on this subsidy issue since he doubles as the petroleum minister.

“The Tinubu administration should be courageous enough to own its policies and outcome with full chest and be responsible enough to be accountable for its actions to Nigerians,” the statement read.

He stressed the importance of the National Assembly prioritising the investigation of the matter, instead of concentrating on trivial matters.

It continued, “This denial lends credence that money meant for the Federation Account, which ought to be shared with states and local governments, is being diverted without any form of accountability whatsoever.

“There is a need for the National Assembly to get to the bottom of the matter, rather than focusing on frivolous issues.

“The National Assembly needs to be alive to its responsibilities, especially in the area of oversight. Posterity will not be kind to members of the National Assembly if they continue to look the other way while daylight robbery is taking place.”

The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, blamed the alleged deceit within the All Progressives Congress government for driving Nigerians further into poverty.

It stated, “The Peoples Democratic Party asserts that the scandalous revelation that the President Bola Tinubu-led All Progressives Congress administration is secretly paying a whopping N5.4tn as fuel subsidy for 2024, even after the president announced an end to fuel subvention further confirms PDP’s stand that the APC administration is a cesspit of corruption, lies and deceit.

“Nigerians can recall how APC leaders, in their characteristic manner, tried to divert public attention when the PDP earlier alerted of this fraudulent act in a statement on May 28, 2024.

“This revelation by Wale Edun, after a series of denials by the APC leaders and government officials, validates the axiom that no matter how long lies appear to thrive, the truth, like the sun, will always prevail.

“Is it not provocative and an act of extreme insensitivity that while our nation is suffering from grave infrastructural decay and millions of Nigerians subjected to punishing hardship, acute poverty, life of misery and utter despondency by the removal of subsidy without cushioning measures, a staggering N5.4tn, in the name of fuel subsidy, is reportedly being cornered by corrupt APC leaders?”

The PDP called on Tinubu to promptly clarify the situation by addressing the nation and initiating a public inquiry into the reported N5.4tn fuel subsidy in his administration.

“Nigerians deserve to know: Where is the N5.4tn being taken from? Which agency of government is responsible for the payment of the said fuel subsidy and to who? What are the criteria used for payment? What volume of fuel is being subsidised and at what cost? Why is petrol still selling exorbitantly even with the revelation of the continuing payment of fuel subsidy? These are questions that need to be answered.

“The PDP demands that President Tinubu immediately clears the air and come clean by personally addressing Nigerians and ordering a public enquiry into the reported N5.4tn fuel subsidy under his watch.

“President Tinubu should immediately review his economic team to get capable hands and check the corruption prevalent in the administration,” the party sai

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