News Update

Varsity Don Calls for Trial of Persons behind Petroleum Subsidy Funds

By Michael Nnebife

A former Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, Prof Obiajulu Obikeze, has advised the Bola Tinubu Government to arrest, try and prosecute the persons involved in the controversial petroleum subsidy regime to bring about the desired change in Nigeria.

Prof Obikeze who gave the advice while featuring in a media programme in Awka recently, challenged the government to come up with a simple explanation to Nigerians on what the petroleum subsidy was, what it was for, and who were involved.

The former Dean said, ‘Before we had Independence in 1960, there were regions – north, east, west. Then, all the regions were doing well and had so many sources of income.

‘The Federal Government then didn’t take much from what the regions generated; instead the regions helped to sustain the government at the centre.

‘In 1966, the military came in through a coup d’etat and everything in Nigeria changed.

‘By the grace of God, crude oil was discovered in which the military found that there was money. Then everybody rushed into it and began to squander the money without thinking about what and how to produce any other thing for a better Nigeria.

‘However, then, there were refineries working without problems. At a time we were told that prices of the petroleum products were high. But we had refineries. What happened to them?

‘Every year, money to be used to repair the refineries is voted. So, subsidy and all these they tell us are stories.

‘Now, the subsidy has been removed, the question is, what is subsidy? Why was it removed? Is the removal a solution to the problems? If at all people were misappropriating subsidy, who are the people? Are they Nigerians or foreigners?

‘So, arrest, try, and if found guilty, punish those people so that we will know whether there will be a change in Nigeria,’Obikeze said.

While blaming President Tinubu for rushing into the policy without first looking into it with a view to knowing the proper time for the implementation and workable palliative for the people, Prof Obikeze described the removal of fuel subsidy now as celebrating Easter before Good Friday.

Another guest in the programme, Mr John Obika, faulted the Federal Government’s planned N500 billion palliative, noting that the parameter to get the 12 million poor families in Nigeria was unavailable.

Mr Obika, who is a public affairs analyst, however suggested the introduction of public mass transit buses by the government with the N500 billion palliative across the nation as obtained in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, among others.