Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, yesterday absolved herself of blame concerning the non-removal of subsidy on kerosene, blaming it instead on former minister of petroleum, Dr. Rilwan Lukman who failed to comply with the directive on kerosene subsidy removal by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Alison-Maduke who stated that the Farouk Lawal-led subsidy probe committee was not fair to her in their submissions, also faulted the late President Yar’Adua, for not punishing Lukman over his failure to comply with his directive in June, 2009.
This is even as the minister disclosed that there were no plans to rush into the total removal of petrol subsidy because of the uprising generated by the January 1, 2012 total withdrawal, while disclosing that there would be a bid round for oil licences in June.
Reacting to questions during her session at the ministerial platform organised by the ministry of information to commemorate President Goodluck Jonathan’s first anniversary , she said the Ad-Hoc Committee was unfair to have accused her and President Goodluck Jonathan of not complying with a law that has nothing to do with them.
She said: “We on our side do have some clarifications in terms of a number of the issues that were put forward in the report; I do not have the time to go over all of them. I will give an example. There was an issue of the directive of the late president in terms of the removal of kerosene subsidy which happened in June 2009 before I was appointed minister of petroleum. Now under section 6 of the Petroleum Act, the minister of petroleum might publish in the official gazette, fix the price of petroleum products.
“Which means that for it to actually become the law, the minster must publish that petroleum product price. I do not recall, and I don’t think anybody recalls any such directive published in 2009. It is not something that can be hidden because it has to by law be published. Therefore, if it was not published by law and not gazetted, it is not a directive that can be legally complied with.”
Speaking further, she said: “Many months passed and that minister obviously did not comply with the directive of the president.” The president also did not put in place punitive measures possibly for good reasons.