The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), with support from Justice for All (J4A) a window of funding of DfID, organised a two-day workshop from February 3-4, 2015 at the Hotel De Horizon, Wuse 2, Abuja. The workshop was part of activities of ANEEJ “Advocacy against impunity in oil subsidy regime in Nigeria” project. Twenty Two (22) participants drawn from Civil Society which included media, NGOs, Faith Based Organisations attended the workshop.
The meeting reviewed the progress made in the prosecution of indicted persons and entities by the EFCC and Nigeria Police on oil subsidy fraud and corruption arising from the January 2012 national protests that trailed the Federal Government removal of subsidy on Petrol.
The workshop also discussed the preparations for the February, 2015 general elections and how the political parties and their presidential candidates are speaking to the issues of corruption and how to mainstream oil subsidy corruption into the campaign issues.
The workshop noted the followings:
• Welcome discussions of political parties and presidential candidates around the issues of corruption and how it has impoverished Nigerians, weak institutions, lack of transparency and accountability in the oil and gas industry as well as underdevelopment of the people.
• Weaknesses in the Judiciary resulting in slow pace of prosecution of suspects charged to courts and hence no convictions till date
• Appreciate the EFCC investigations and recovery of N5bn from suspected oil subsidy thieves. However, participants decried non availability of details as to how much money recovered from suspected oil subsidy thieves as a ratio of what was stolen by the suspects.
• Participants appreciates the projects executed under SURE-P and expressed worries over politicization of funds under Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P) in various states of the country.
• Participants noted poor cooperation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiaries in the release of information to the general public even when sought under the Freedom of Information Act as it relates to oil subsidy fraud and corruption investigation and prosecution since January 2012 till date.
• Welcome the recent reduction in the pump price of petroleum products from N97 to N87 per litre but Nigerians expect explanations as to how government arrived at the new pump price and noted that Nigeria need to export refined products and not import same as the 6th leading oil producing country in the world.
• Participants commended ANEEJ and J4A for organising the capacity building workshop
In the light of the above, the workshop made the following calls on major stakeholders:
1 Political parties and presidential candidates to explain to Nigerians what they would do to pending cases of suspected oil subsidy thieves and recovery of monies they allegedly defrauded.
2. EFCC and the Police should also investigate those who checked and released such monies to the suspects and the role of authorizing officers in various MDAs connected to oil subsidy regime in Nigeria.
3. The Judiciary should expeditiously adjudicate all pending criminal matters relating to oil subsidy fraud/corruption and bring all erring persons to justice as justice delayed is justice denied.
3. Federal Government should make our industries and government systems work to end corruption in the oil industry.
4. The National Assembly should pass the Petroleum Industry Bill before the end of the lifespan of the current National Assembly.
6. The EFCC and Special Fraud Unit (SFU) should be properly financed and resourced to execute their mandates of thoroughly investigating and prosecution of suspects.
7. The Federal Government should create specialized courts for the oil subsidy criminal offences as well as other corruption cases as has been canvassed by Nigerians.
8. The Federal Government should make the judiciary independent and let the judiciary get their resources on the first line charge as being demanded by Judiciary workers. Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and that of the Minister of Justice should be separated to promote speedy dispensation of justice.
Civil Society commit to:
7. Establish a Civil Society Platform to continue work on issues of corruption and good governance in Nigeria. ANEEJ to set up modalities for the operation of the platform.
8. Continue to galvanize Nigerians through the media to further action by holding government to account on the need to bring all oil subsidy fraud/corruption suspects to justice.
9. Continue Monitoring and Tracking billions of dollars from savings on oil subsidy as a result of increase of pump price of petrol since January 2012 accruing to the Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P).
1. Mr. Leo Atakpu, Deputy Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ.
2. Mr. Muhammed Attah, Procurement Observation and Advocacy Initiative
3. Ms. Tracy Keshi, SAY NO Campaign-Nigeria.
4. Mr. Idris Musa, Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative
5. Lukman Adefolahan, Zero Corruption Coalition
6. Vincent Dania, Africa Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD).
7. Ms. Motunrayo Alaka, Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism.