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$20bn: Groups ask Jonathan to suspend Okonjo-Iweala, Diezani

Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke

Some civil society groups have called for the suspension of the Minister for Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and her Petroleum Resources counterpart, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, pending the time accounts of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation are audited.

One of the groups said it was filing its second petition to President Goodluck Jonathan to press home its demand that the ministers should stay out of office pending the time the NNPC audit lasted.

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a resolution to probe an alleged spending of N10bn by Alison-Madueke to charter and maintain a jet for her personal use.

The resolution indicated that the minister spent N130m monthly to maintain the aircraft in the last two years.

The groups, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH, were the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders and the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project.

The groups said it would be an injustice not to suspend the other ministers since the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, was suspended for a similar alleged offence.

President Goodluck Jonathan suspended Sanusi on February 20.

Speaking to our correspondent, the Executive Chairman, CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, said, “We are asking our lawyers what we can do and we are sending another petition to the President. Because we don’t have the powers to ask the ministers to step aside, we are going to confront the President directly, that whatever is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

“For everybody to be given equal treatment, whoever has been indicted should be asked to step aside.”

Also, the Executive Director, SERAP, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, said the suspension of the ministers was long overdue. “We agree with their suspension, absolutely. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. The finance minister and the petroleum resources minister should be asked to step aside, pending their investigation and that of the NNPC.”

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