Yemie Adeoye 11 April 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, on Wednesday backed Federal Government’s effort to reform the petroleum sector, and urged the National Assembly to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, even as it pronounces the recently sacked Group Executive Directors (GED) of the Corporation as corrupt.
The leadership and members of the student body who held a peaceful rally in Abuja also supported the ongoing forensic audit of the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
The group noted that the audit of the petroleum sector must be just and objective given the critical role petroleum plays in the nation’s economic and social wellbeing.
Armed with placards some of which read: “NANS Support Petroleum Sector Reform”; “Oil Sector Reform in Line”; “We must be fair to Petroleum Minister”’; the students marched from Eagles Square to the National Assembly where a position paper was handed over for onward transmission to the legislators.
The march also took them to gate of the Presidential Villa and the main gate of the NNPC headquarters.
Speaking at the rally, NANS’ national senate president, Maxwell Soye said the association was worried by the uncertainty created in the polity with the allegedly missing proceeds from crude oil production and its possible impact on the Nigerian economy.
Soye alleged that various political cynics of the government had latched on the development to create hostilities within the country.
While welcoming the forensic audit, he said the group was in support of recent changes at the NNPC by Mrs. Alison-Madueke in which five Group Executive Directors (GEDs) were sacked.
According to him, “For long, Nigerian students have been used as thugs by politicians but we have decided not to support everything that is bad in this country. We are not fighting against government, we are here to appreciate and encourage the thing that government is doing that is transformational.
“We support President Jonathan’s transformation agenda but we are greatly concerned and our concern is based on what is happening currently in the petroleum sector which happens to be the mainstay of the Nigerian economy but political detractors are using what is happening there to distract the peace of Nigeria”, he said.
Soye added that the students were in Abuja “to make a point, that we support the president’s sack of the five executive directors of NNPC that were seen to be corrupt and equally support the ongoing forensic audit at the national assembly to probe whatever corrupt activities in the sector but we will not be carried away by the phantasmagoria of political detractors and we are therefore here to let the national assembly know that while we support them, we do not want them to be pre-empted”.
He urged Nigerians to wait for the outcome of the various probes of the sector by the National Assembly before drawing conclusions on the matter.
“We want Nigerians to wait for the outcome of the probe currently going on at the national assembly before castigating anybody and the minister that is working assiduously for the betterment of the sector at large.
“NANS is a major stakeholder in nation building and a factor in determining the path that the country follows; some detractors in government are trying to derail the transformation agenda of the president.”
“We are passing a vote of confidence on the petroleum minister and say all those calling for her sack are sycophants because in her regime we have recorded successes. We have not had fuel queues until these sycophants took to undermine the economic development of our society”, he added.