THE Federal Government must prosecute Nigerian and foreign businesspeople involved in corruption through the controversial oil subsidy to ensure the development of the country, according to Nigerians in the Diaspora.
Nigerians in the United States (U.S.), Canada and Central America had the support of the ambassador to the United States, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, who on Saturday called a meeting in Chicago to discuss the ongoing controversial removal of the fuel subsidy in Nigeria.
Nigerians abroad were unanimously opposed to the removal of the subsidy as clearly revealed both at the meeting called by Amb. Adefuye, and in the street rallies in front of the United Nations building, in New York and in Houston, Texas, all on the same day.
For more than seven hours in Chicago on Saturday evening, Adefuye spoke with North America-based Nigerians from the U.S. and Canada, seeking to persuade them on the controversial removal of fuel subsidy.
The ambassador, with several top diplomats from the embassy, New York and Atlanta Consulates, was later joined by Foreign Affairs Minister of State Mrs. Viola Onwuliri, and Amb. Jerry Ugbokwe, who flew in from Nigeria to be part of the meeting under the aegis of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), whose officials moderated the event.
At the end, the conclusion was not very different from that of many Nigerians at home and those of other U.S.-based Nigerians who are protesting against the policy in major American cities since last week .
But the ambassador was commended by several of the speakers for convening the Chicago meeting. Several of the Nigerians at the meeting were professionals, including university professors, medical doctors and lawyers.
In his speech, Adefuye who explained the rationale behind the removal of the subsidy, castigated those he called “fat cats.”
According to him, “the subsidy regime has been captured by the fat cats in the oil cartel of about 100 oil companies owned by some of the richest Nigerians and their foreign friends who dwell in obscene opulence, flying in private jets, dwelling in mansions and cruising in yachts.”
Adefuye who managed to keep the testy meeting going on despite occasional outbursts and protests also passionately urged Nigerians in the Diaspora to give President Goodluck Jonathan a chance to prove he is different from previous leaders, many of who had made promises but failed.
Adefuye said that “it is not fair to punish this administration for the mistakes, incompetence and the unfaithfulness of its predecessors.”
The Chairman of NIDO in America, Dr. Ganiyu Dada whose organisation hosted the meeting in Chicago called on the Federal Government to find “other ways” of raising money to build infrastructure and develop the country, apart from removing the subsidy.
Dada asked that the refineries should be working and called on the government to prosecute those involved in the oil subsidy scandal and other forms of corruption, adding that the government had already identified some of the corrupt people.
During the question and answer session, many were concerned about the reluctance of the Federal Government to prosecute those involved in the corruption in the oil subsidy regime, while others criticised the timing of the subsidy removal.