15 March 2014, Abuja – As controversy continues to trail the alleged unremitted $20 billion, about 96 anti-corruption groups including Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organisations have set up an independent forensic audit to ascertain the level of culpability in the remittance of government funds by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to the federation account.
Meanwhile, the 96 anti-corruption groups have said that they were mobilizing to embark on what they described as the mother of protests over the alleged missing money.
Addressing Journalists yesterday, the Executive Secretary of Anti-Corruption Network, flanked by other members of the anti-corruption groups stated that now President Goodluck Jonathan had announced through his spokesman, Reuben Abati the conduct of forensic audit of the NNPC account, there was the need for the Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke to step aside so as not to use her influence against the probe.
Besides, the group also said that if the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala should claim ignorance of not being aware of the non remittance of the subsidy funds in the last three years, she has no business to continue to act as the Cordinating minister.
Melaye who was a former member of the House of Representatives said,
“The protest is being organized, the organization is at the highest gear and we are mobilizing like never before for this mother of all protests. We shall never be intimidated by the police, we shall not be cowed by the security agencies, we cannot and we will not be threatened by anybody.
“What we are organizing is a peaceful protest and it is in consonance with the provision of our constitution as enshrined in Chapter 2 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
“I want to use this opportunity also to educate the Nigeria Police that in the case of ANPP versus the Nigeria Police, the Court of Appeal had ruled that the Nigeria Police have no powers to stop any peaceful protest.
“That judgment also stipulated that no one needs any clarifications or orders from the Nigeria Police for peaceful protests, rally and processions and that judgment even over rules the public order act. So the police is advised to allow this peaceful protest hold because any attempt to stop us from holding the peaceful protest will be met with stiff resistance.
“We are law abiding Nigerians, we abhor violence but we live in peaceful resolution to national issues. Our protest has never been violent, we had never been violent, we will always be peaceful, so the security agents have nothing to fear than to give us protection.
“We also want to use this opportunity to call for the immediate resignation of the minister of petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke and the Group MD of NNPC. Just yesterday, the President ordered a forensic probe of the NNPC and we are saying he who must come to equity must come with clean hands.
“If the NNPC is going to be investigated or audited, the minister of Petroleum in the person of Diezani Allison-Madueke is the Chairman of the Board of NNPC and we all know the popular saying that you cannot be a judge in your own case.
“If you are calling for a forensic audit of the NNPC, then the minister of petroleum who doubles as the Chairman of NNPC and the Group MD of NNPC will have to be suspended, excused or temporarily suspended so that transparency and openness will be observed in the course of this auditing.
“The minister cannot be sitting, the Group MD of NNPC cannot be sitting in office while a forensic investigation and auditing is going on. We all know that they will impede on investigation. So it is a natural law of justice that you cannot be a judge in your own case,” he stated.
Melaye also disclosed that the anti-corruption groups have started their own independent forensic audit and that in few weeks time, they would make available the results of their audit.
“We are also carrying out our own independent forensic auditing of the PPPRA and PPMC and other subsidiaries of NNPC and in few weeks, we will be making our revelations.
“Already, primary investigation has revealed that the NNPC and her subsidiary are colossus for corruption in Nigeria. Our common patrimony has been misapplied, the future of our children and grand children is bleak, God forbid, never again shall we keep quiet over issues and matter that will determine the future of this country.”
*Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Vanguard