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Group berates attack on Alison-Madueke, PIB

By The Citizen

A pressure group, the National Unity Project (NUP), has berated some northern leaders over what it described as unwarranted attack on the person of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, and their opposition to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

In a statement signed Sunday by the Director-General, NUP, Mr. Igwekala Leo Ugomaduefule, the group urged the leaders to 'surrender their pride' to the reforms engineered by Alison-Madueke in the oil sector.

Ugomaduefule said such attacks were ill-advised and reminded them that in the past, ministers of northern extraction had exercised powers beyond the actions of the current minister without any condemnation from the North.

He said: 'The relentless barrage of criticisms directed at the Minister of Petroleum Resources, is very unwarranted, undeserving and evidently discriminatory. We note that these nefarious actions are coming from the political elite mainly of northern regional extraction, even to the extent that the Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwanso, made a most inexplicable and ridiculous call for the trimming down of the power and authority of the petroleum minister.

'One wonders whether the current Minister of Petroleum Resources is exercising more powers and authority than erstwhile Ministers as General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), Dr. Rilwan Lukeman, Prof. Jubril Aminu, among others. As a matter of fact and history, these other ministers performed their functions in a dictatorial military style when their words were final law, with no democratic input whatsoever from a legislature.'

Ugomaduefule, therefore, reminded the protesting northern leaders that the PIB was actually initiated in the regime of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, and condemned Kwankwaso's comments that the implementation of the bill would serve further to impoverish the North.

He also noted that the bill was yet to exhaust the due process of vetting and adaptation by the National Assembly, stressing that it was still subject to inputs from all shades of opinion across the land, including that of Northern leaders.

'The pertinent question is: are the rest of Nigerians expected to continue to subsidise the North when their leaders had all the opportunities during the over 40 years of unbroken Northern military rule to put the whole of the country on the path development,' he queried.
'Or are these elements insisting that unless the office of Petroleum Minister is occupied by a Northerner, as has been the case with the Federal capital Territory (FCT) Ministry, the minister cannot be allowed to freely exercise to his or her functions,' he added.