Isa Yuguda, the former Governor of Bauchi State, has revealed that the fuel subsidy in Nigeria was a fraudulent scheme where individuals profited from non-existent pipelines in Lagos and Warri during the last administration.
Yuguda made these statements in an interview with Channels TV, where he disclosed that the committee he chaired had investigated the subsidy regime and uncovered the scam within it.
According to Yuguda, subsidy claims were made on pipelines that did not exist, with false invoices and paperwork used to claim subsidies. When asked if the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was involved in the fraudulent claims, Yuguda confirmed that they were indeed involved.
He further mentioned instances where large sums of money were collected as subsidy for a pipeline that was supposed to run between Lagos and Warri, despite the fact that the pipeline did not exist. He expressed his sadness at the state of affairs, stating, “This is Nigeria for you.”
Yuguda also implicated oil marketers in the subsidy scam, stating that they were all involved. He pointed out that Nigeria was subsidizing Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Africa due to the smuggling of petroleum products out of the country.
Despite his committee’s report indicting the NNPC in the subsidy scam, Yuguda revealed that the government failed to take action on the findings. He expressed frustration at implementing policies in Nigeria, particularly when powerful interests and a cabal are involved, likening it to the issue of oil bunkering, which is difficult to stop due to political will and entrenched interests.
Yuguda emphasized that the subsidy regime should have been abolished earlier, and anyone advocating for its continuation is connected to the scammers causing harm to the country. He shared an anecdote about a friend in the oil industry who was part of the economic team and expressed to the President the need to remove the subsidy, stating, “We are tired of making money.” According to Yuguda, this person witnessed the scam firsthand and conveyed his frustration to the President.
When asked why the former President did not have the courage to end the subsidy regime despite the knowledge of the scam, Yuguda attributed it to entrenched interests and even the potential risk to the President’s life.