‘Bribe allegation must not stop subsidy report implementation’

Action Congress of Nigeria on Tuesday warned that the allegation of bribery involving the Chairman, House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management, Mr. Farouk Lawan, must not be allowed to scuttle the implementation of the committee’s report.

Also, the Nigeria Labour Congress in Abuja called on security agencies, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to implement the oil subsidy report “and avoid unnecessary diversions”.

In a statement in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party expressed deep concern about the timing of the allegation to coincide with the period that Nigerians expect the government to be dealing with the issues raised in the report.

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It said, “Nigerians generally believe, going by published reactions to the report, that the committee did a thorough job in exposing the massive mismanagement and the sleaze involved in the fuel subsidy issue.

“Therefore, the allegation of bribery making the rounds should not be used as a reason not to allow all those indicted by the report to have their day in court.

“While the bribery allegation must be thoroughly investigated and anyone found culpable dealt with according to the laws of the land, any attempt to cast aspersion on the report, to say it has been tainted by the bribery allegation, should be resisted by the House of Representatives.

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“We are concerned that this case is eerily similar to what happened after the House’s probe into the $16bn reportedly spent on the power sector during the Obasanjo regime.

“Instead of implementing the report of the committee, the man who presided over the probe was slammed with corruption charges.

“Till today, that report was never implemented and Nigeria remains in darkness.”

A statement by the Acting President of the NLC, Mr. Kiri Mohammed, said the content of the report was a confirmation of the union’s earlier position.

He said, “The ongoing accusations and counter-accusations between Farouk Lawan, and the Chairman of Zenon Petroleum, Femi Otedola, over allegations of bribery involving the sum of $600,000, as serious as it is, should not be used to divert attention on the implementation of the report of the committee.”

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