by Timi Frank
A few days ago, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers state made it know that the pitiable financial condition of States in Nigeria should be blamed on the Federal Government as a result of the corruption and stealing at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Governor Amaechi said that dwindling revenues to States is caused by the on-going stealing of public funds from the coffers of the NNPC. The Governor said that corruption rather than oil theft was the reason for the shortfall in revenue.
The comment by the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum is spot on. Corruption is not only affecting our States but the entire nation. A good example of the corruption and stealing alluded to by Governor Amaechi is the missing/unaccounted/unremitted $20billion and the alleged squandering of N10billion on private jets by Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Minister of petroleum resources.
Since the news broke that $20billion oil revenue is missing, we have not ceased to cry out and call on Mr. President to commence steps to restore probity, sanity and accountability at the NNPC and within our oil industry by first ensuring that Diezani is sacked and appropriately prosecuted. I want to thank Governor Amaechi for lending his voice to this crusade aimed at stopping the mind-boggling stealing and corruption that is on-going at the NNPC under the stewardship of Diezani.
Despite the massive plundering of our resources today, the President and his propagandists keep talking about Transformation Agenda. There is nothing transformative about being one of the most corrupt countries in the World today and absolutely nothing transformative about being one of the worst countries in Africa when it comes to human rights and people development.
Nigerians, what do we call a situation where stealing in government circle has graduated from thousands and millions of Naira to billions and trillions of Naira and Dollars? I totally agree with Governor Amaechi when he posited that: “The President’s Transformation Agenda has not in any way reflected in the lives of Nigerians, go everywhere, there is poverty and wanton neglect.”
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s promise that the forensic audit report by the Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) will soon be released will not stop us from demanding for the whereabouts of the missing $20billion. In spite of the illogical claim by Madam Minister that only $10.8billion of missing oil revenue in NNPC remained unaccounted for, Nigerians’ confidence in the expected report from the PwC remain shaky for the fact that Diezani was not asked to step aside from the entire process while the auditors carried out their assignment. I will not stop demanding for the recovery and return of the missing $20billion to the Federation Account. Even if it’s only $1 that is missing or unaccounted for, it must to be found and returned to the nation’s treasury.
Why has Mr. President failed to hold Diezani accountable for the corruption at the NNPC and for all the scams within the oil industry? Mr. President are you not embarrassed that your Government is being labeled as one of the most corrupt in the World? Mr. President, don’t you think it’s time to fire Diezani as a step towards making Nigerians and the World believe that corruption will not be tolerated and that the corrupt will be punished?
I urge every elected official, our judiciary and all Nigerians home and abroad to join this crusade against the odious corruption that is impoverishing Nigerians, affecting investors’ confidence and denting our image globally. Most especially, other state governors must cry out or risk the little they are getting in terms of allocation taken from them.
We cannot afford to suffer from the conspiracy of silence at this time because according to a German Lutheran pastor, Martin Niemoller, “They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unions, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one to speak up.” As they say, evil thrives when good people keep quiet.
Finally, Mr. President, with the level of corruption ravaging our nation under your administration, do you think you still deserve to be reelected in 2015 having done nothing to tackle recurring incidence of corruption and outright stealing of our national resources?
Comrade Timi Frank