24 July 2015, Abuja – Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Thursday, described the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as the engine room of corruption, lamenting that none of the perpetrators of illegal deals in the corporation had so far been apprehended and brought to justice.
He, therefore, challenged the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress to assist the Federal Government to fight corruption by encouraging their members in the oil and gas sector to expose those behind subsidy scam in the country.
Saraki who stated this while addressing the leadership of the NLC led by its President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, in his office, asked the oil and gas workers to reveal the identities of subsidy thieves and watch whether they would be protected or not.
He said, “I think we need the cooperation of our workers who know it all. They see it happen and when you look at the anti-corruption agencies, with all due respect, you will find out that 80 per cent of some of the cases are cases at the state level.
“You hardly see where people who are the real engine room – which is the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation – where most of these corruption cases on oil are, being put on trial.”
He said it was time workers helped the government succeed to decisively tackle corruption through collective efforts.
Saraki noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had made it clear that his administration would fight corruption to its logical end, stressing that the Senate had on its part started the process by engaging the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission.
He also said that the upper chamber would soon interact with the management of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other anti-graft agencies in order to fashion out a collective to tackle the menace of corruption.
Saraki assured Nigerians that the Senate under his watch would fight corruption with a view to blocking leakages and create gainful employment.
He said, “We in the 8th Senate have said there will be zero tolerance for corruption. Corruption is one issue slowing down development and some of the problems we are tackling.
“Whether you talk about our refineries not working, you talk of the issue of fuel subsidy, you talk about the high cost of governance, everything you talked about comes back to this issue of corruption and I think it is time for all of us, those of us in the National Assembly, the Executive and the workers to show serious commitment.
“This should not be a headline-grabbing approach because at the end of the day, you are workers, when you talk about oil theft, we have Nigerian workers at the terminals who surely must know when this thing is going on.
“Everywhere that there is corruption, some workers are there either participating or observing. We now have a great opportunity to win the war against corruption because we have a leadership led by President Muhammadu Buhari that we believe has the political will to do the right thing”
He said the excuses of Nigerian workers that when they blow the whistle on corrupt practices nothing would be done because the system is corrupt right from the top, was No longer tenable because the current administration in the country has the political will to deal with the scourge.
Saraki said, “We are assuring you that at the executive side, we have elected the President that will do it well. I am making the commitment on behalf of the National Assembly and myself that we are committed to fighting corruption.”
Wabba lamented the current high cost of governance coupled with the high exchange rate which according to him was having serious negative impact on the lives of workers.
Wabba said that the reduction of salaries announced by the President, the Vice-President and some state governors was not the solution to the problem of high cost of governance in the country.
The NLC President also called for a more transparent execution of the National Assembly annual budget.
He recalled that the budget for the National Assembly for 2011 was shrouded in secrecy because the lawmakers used their influence to move it into the first line charge in the Federation Account.