Nigeria - Goodluck Jonathan Will Not Prosecute The Fuel Subsidy Cabal


Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is coming under pressure to prosecute top officials implicated in a $6.8 billion fuel subsidy fraud, but many of the suspects are allies he is unlikely to go after if wants to keep his power base intact.
It has been three weeks since parliament produced a report detailing massive corruption in a state subsidised petrol import scheme and Jonathan has yet to indicate how he intends to respond.

Inaction on one of the biggest corruption scandals in Nigerian history will hurt Jonathan's reformist credentials and further alienate his government from a disillusioned population. It could also prompt major public protests.
But some of Jonathan's closest allies manage the oil industry, which is based in his home region, and the tentacles of the subsidy fraud spread throughout the political elite, making it near impossible to untangle.
"In the past pressure for change has usually prompted the casting aside of a scapegoat," said Antony Goldman, Nigeria analyst and head of Africa-focused PM Consulting.
"Too many people in the ruling elite do not want an end to corruption, they just want their turn. From an external perspective, failure to act may indeed look like weakness; the domestic environment is more complex."
Civil society groups have threatened protests if those they deem responsible for the mess, including Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, and heads of the state oil firm, aren't sacked.
In January, thousands bought the nation to standstill in protests tagged Occupy Nigeria against an attempted removal of the subsidy.
"The president is hoping this will blow away and we believe his own vested interests are holding him back," said Clement Nwankwo, a political activist with the Abuja-based Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, one of many that led protests in January.
Jonathan already has many opponents and is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency in the north. In a country where patronage and largesse still determine political success, prosecuting power brokers is risk he is unlikely to take.

1 comment

  1. Ogbono presidoooooo; y waste all dat fund in setting up the so called commitee. It was all a facade, a cherade to make Nigerians believe dat this govt is wrking. Some times I wonder if this govt have a wrk plan or jst a fire brigade approach but at the end of the day, the fire still burns down everytin. Its jst soooooooo sad...K.Z

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