There are indications that the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government may soon commence fresh investigations into the case of marketers of petroleum products that abused the petrol subsidy scheme and subsequently revoke their licences.
Currently, some marketers, our correspondent learnt, had got wind of the development and are forming an alliance to fight back.
The marketers, it was gathered, are planning to integrate their public relations units in the bid to manage the situation by exploiting the media.
Commenting on the development, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Lagos Zone, Mr. Tokunbo Korodo, in a telephone interview with our correspondent, said it was important for the Federal Government to clear the controversies surrounding the probe on petrol subsidy handled by the immediate past National Assembly.
He said, “The administration of the Peoples Democratic Party in the past 16 years was a disaster. We are appealing to Buhari to probe the subsidy thieves so that we can have some sort of sanity in the industry.”
Also speaking on the move by marketers to form an alliance to fight back, Korodo said for such marketers who had chosen to further expose their misdeeds, the risk of losing their licences remained very high.
A marketer, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, blame the media for the escalation of the “subsidy issue.”
The marketer, who did not rule out the possibility of a further probe on the subsidy saga by the new administration, declined commenting on the formation of alliance by marketers to fight the process.
According to the marketer, the subsidy problem, which hit the downstream sector, took marketers by surprise.
Also speaking on the issue, the Chief Executive Officer, Imarose Technologies Limited, oil services and engineering consultants, Mr. Imafidon Osarenkhoe, said further investigation into the subsidy profiteers remained the way to go, if the country wanted to address the downstream problems in the long term.
He said the Federal Government had continued to apply the fire-fighting model on the downstream sector for a long time, “We cannot continue to fire fight. Our basic are not working and we are largely depending on imports, which is another room for fraud,” he said.
Osarenkhoe maintained that it was crucial for the government to make an example of the persons that exploited the petrol subsidy scheme to serve as a deterrent to others who were planning to abuse the process
In July 2012, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had said it would be putting the 140 suspected subsidy thieves on trial, based on the investigation conducted by its operatives.
Out of the lot, 13 would be arraigned by the anti-graft agency before three judges of Lagos High Court within a week, the anti-graft agency said then.
Controversies have continued to trail the investigation process till date, while the outcome of the investigations remaines sketchy.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki had said Nigeria was still spending $32bn on non-existing oil subsidy operators.