BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
ORGANISED Labour weekend alleged that there were plans to cover up some of the indicted oil marketers in the subsidy probe reports, vowing to resist any attempt by government to perpetrate such plans.
Speaking under the aegis of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, at briefing in Lagos, labour faulted the withdrawal of charges against some of the suspects by the government, arguing that only the court had the exclusive power to make such decisions.Addressing newsmen, President-General of TUC, Comrade Peter Esele, demanded that government should explain to Nigerians what prompted the decision given the fact those affected were indicted by the committees’ reports.
According to him, “Congress is worried about the withdrawal of the charges against some of the oil subsidy fraud suspects by the Federal Government and would want to know what has made this action very urgent now. We feel that this would have been left for the courts to decide.”
The TUC President-General argued that the persons currently on trial over the fuel subsidy fraud “do not represent the quantity and quality of the persons indicted by both the House of representatives and the Aig-Imokuhuede panel”.
Comrade Esele claimed the development was another ploy by government to prosecute these persons and use it as a cover to hoodwink Nigerians into believing that it was prosecuting perpetrators of the oil subsidy scam.
He called on government to be transparent in the trial of the fuel subsidy looters so that funds looted from the national coffers would be recovered and returned to the national treasury.
He said: “It should be noted that the amount of money involved in the subsidy fraud runs into trillions of Naira but the amount allegedly stolen by those standing trial are presently about N304 billion. We then ask what about those who have cornered the other trillions? When will they be brought to trial to face justice? If this is an attempt to try these persons and use it as a cover to hoodwink the people of this nation, we want to warn that we shall resist it and it must fail.”
On the implementation of the 2012 budget, Esele said the Congress was fully in support of the House of Representatives’ position on budget implementation, but noted that the threat of impeachment was another distraction from the pressing issues confronting the economy.
He said, “while supporting that Federal Government should pursue budget implementation tenaciously, the Congress also added that impeachment proceedings will be a distraction from the myriad of pressing issues confronting both the nation and its teeming population that have presently left the masses in the morass of uncontrolled hunger and deprivation.
We all know what impeachment means in the society of a country, the budget we are talking about, is not much more important than the fact N800.billion was appropriated for subsidy and N1.7 trillion was expended, place the two side-by-side and let’s see which is more, so looked at it as a distraction. We also have to look at the cost of governance.
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