The Emir of Kano, HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II, has said the Federal Government should not only recover stolen funds but ensure looters were punished. Speaking at the graduation lecture at the National Defence College on Deregulation of the Downstream Oil Sector and Nigeria’s Economic Development for Course 24 participants of the National Defence College, Sanusi rejected calls from those saying government should just recover money, insisting that government should also put them in jail. Wondering why it took long for government to deregulate the oil sector because of clear evidence of corruption in the subsidy regime, Sanusi said: “The oil sector is only 15 per cent of GDP, yet oil accounts for 70 per cent of government revenues, oil accounts for 99 per cent of our foreign earnings. We got to a point when even though the numbers were staring us in the face, the entire nation was in denial. In 2009 when I became governor of Central Bank, the Nigerian government spent N291 billion that year subsidizing petroleum products. “Two years later in 2011, N2.13 trillion was spent on the same subsidy, so has our population increased ten fold? It was very clear that this wasn’t oil subsidy; it was a scam.
“The whole issue of fuel subsidy was set up to create opportunity for a few people to make money, and it was presented in a manner that convinced everybody it was for the poor. For every 30,000 metric tons of kerosene imported in the country, the federation account lost 20 million dollars. We were importing 6, 7, 8 vessels per month for six years until this subsidy, the federation account was losing from 120 million to 160 million dollars every month. This is just kerosene, can you imagine a country losing $120 million every month on a non-existent subsidy on Kerosene, not PMS? This is how bad non-deregulation was because it allowed a small group of criminals to garner so much financial resources as to undermine every single institution that we had for checks and balances.” Disclosing that in 2011 when subsidy was in place, Nigeria was importing 59.6 million liters per day, he said: “But now that subsidy has been removed, it is less than 30 million liters per day. “Nigeria is bankrupt, we are bankrupted by a policy that was foolish, that was unrealistic, and unsustainable and by all means our refusal over the years to listen.”