June 6, 2024

Fuel subsidy: FG diverting public funds using secret payments — Atiku


By John Alechenu, Abuja

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, has accused the President Bola Tinubu-led administration of diverting public funds through the secret payment of fuel subsidy. 

Atiku said the secrecy surrounding the subsidy payment and the administration’s refusal to make public how much is being spent on the venture leave much to be desired. 

The former Vice President said this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday. He was reacting to a statement issued by the presidency.

Atiku explained that the clandestine fuel subsidy regime was one of the reasons investments in the oil sector had refused to come in.

He said, “Tinubu has brought the shady nature of running Lagos to the federal level. He claims subsidy is gone, but his Special Adviser on Energy, Olu Verheijen, says they are intervening from time to time, while his Finance Minister, Wale Edun, described subsidy removal as an ‘ongoing process’. 

“A document authored by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy revealing how much subsidy is being paid is now being disowned by the very authors of the document.

“Both the World Bank and the IMF have revealed in separate reports that Nigeria is still paying petrol subsidies, but the Tinubu government refuses to come clean. Even a senior member of the APC had revealed that subsidy was being paid.

“For a man who claims to be on a mission to attract foreign direct investment, it is ironic that he cannot see that his policy flip flops and lies are capable of dissuading investors. He must come clean on this subsidy issue since he doubles as petroleum minister. 

“The Tinubu administration should be courageous enough to own their policies and outcome with their full chest and responsible enough to be accountable for their actions to Nigerians.”

The Turakin Adamawa added that “this denial lends credence that money meant for the Federation Account, which ought to be shared with states and local governments, is being diverted without any form of accountability whatsoever.

“There is a need for the National Assembly to get to the bottom of the matter rather than focusing on frivolous issues.

“The National Assembly needs to be alive to its responsibilities, especially in the area of oversight. Posterity will not be kind to members of the National Assembly if they continue to look the other way while daylight robbery is taking place.”