The Nigerian Senate appears to have joined the Executive and the Judiciary to the ongoing anti-corruption war going by a shocking revolution made on Wednesday that corrupt Nigerians were hiding stolen money in caskets and uncompleted buildings in remote villages in some parts of the country.
The Senate made the claim during the consideration of a motion, moved by Senator Dino Melaye where he called for the probe of NNPC involvement in petroleum subsidy scam.
The motion tagged, ‘discrepancies in subsidy payment and non-remittance of funds by the NNPC to the federation account.’
Senator Melaye, who made the claim, did not provide any substantial proof to support its claims. However, to many Nigerians who heard him speak against corruption on the floor of the Senate, it is a positive development that the legislative arm of government has indicated interest to embrace the fight against corruption being spareheaded by President Muhammadu Buhari, who had before now been seen as being alone in the anti-graft fight.
According to Melaye, “Monies are not accounted for and that might be the reason why we now see petro-dollars buried in caskets and uncompleted buildings in remote villages in some parts of the country,” he claimed.
Senator Melaye had in a point of order on Tuesday drawn the attention of the Senate to the refusal of the Federal Government to probe the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which he said got 51 out of 100 per cent share of companies sanctioned to import petroleum products into the country.
Melaye had said all the oil marketers currently facing trial over alleged subsidy fraud, only constitute 49 per cent of imported refined products.
“Surprisingly you (Saraki) are one of those who raised the issue of subsidy in the 7th Senate. The Federal Government is prosecuting marketers and these marketers only constitute 49 per cent of imported refined products. The NNPC is responsible for the importation of 51 per cent.
“While we are prosecuting the independent marketers whose proceed from subsidy is about N3.83 trillion, NNPC collected a total of N5.1 trillion on subsidy and this has never been investigated.
“This has never been looked at and we are busy chasing independent marketers. The time to look at the books of NNPC as regards petroleum subsidy is now.
“We have taken the lead in the fight against corruption in this chamber and I want to say we must do everything within our powers to investigate and bring whoever is found wanting to book.”
The Senate President Bukola Saraki had given a nod to Melaye’s plea to sponsor a motion on Tuesday, saying,
“Senator Melaye, we expect this motion on Wednesday and its a very serious issue. It goes to the core of the fight against corruption and also the issue of NNPC which is a great source of revenue for all of us. We will wait for that motion today,” Saraki had noted.
Following the discussion on the issue on Tuesday, the Senate also mandated its committee on Petroleum (Downstream) to exhaustively review and investigate the NNPC over its accounts relating to fuel subsidy and the abuse of product marketing and distribution between 2006 and 2016.
Saraki changed the Senate committee on Petroleum (Downstream) to conduct a holistic investigation, saying,: “A situation where individuals do what they like and are not accountable to anybody should be stopped. The committee should do a thorough job and ensure that they get to the root of this issue. The thing borders on the issue of corruption which has been affecting the country negatively.”
By our Correspondent