Abuse of office: Protesters want PEF boss sacked over lopsided recruitment

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Hundreds of protesters on Wednesday stormed the headquarters of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management) Board) in Abuja demanding the resignation of its Executive Director, Ahmed Bobboi, over lopsided recruitment. 

The protesters, numbering over 500, promised to take their peaceful rally to the presidential villa if their demand is not met.

Bobboi was appointed head of the agency, saddled with reimbursing petroleum marketing companies for loss suffered solely and exclusively, as a result of the sale of petroleum products at government-approved prices in 2016. 

However, the tenure of the 64-year-old, who is also on the board of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), has been blighted by nepotism and blatant abuse of office, according to the Coalition for Good Governance and Rule of Law (CGGRL) and its sister CSOs. 

Speaking on behalf of the protesters, the coalition’s president, Comrade Ikpa Isaac, faulted the recruitment exercise conducted in 2020, stating that of the 200 persons hired, only 17 persons were from the oil-producing states.

According to Ikpa, this shows the insensitivity of the Executive Secretary who he says is not in tune with the peculiarities of the time that requires creating a level playing ground for all Nigerians to actualize dreams. 

Describing the action as “despicable”, Comrade Ikpa noted that such is capable of setting the country on a dangerous path of disintegration. 

While calling on the ES to reverse the recruitment or resign from office, Ikpa said otherwise would see the protesters continue their peaceful rally and extend it to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Presidential Villa. 

The group further vowed to take all necessary legal actions to protect the Nigerian masses and the laws of the land. 

Read Full Address Below: 

The Coalition for Good Governance and Rule of Law strongly condemns the recent events in the Petroleum Equalization Fund PEF  that is capable of defeating the principles of social cohesion in Nigeria. 

We are constrained to remind the Executive Secretary of PEF Ahmed Bobboi that the Petroleum Equalization Fund as a key government parastatal in the oil sector in Nigeria ought to be thoughtful in the conduct of its activities that should reflect the spirit of nationalism and a sense of belonging for all Nigerians regardless of religious or ethnic affiliations. 

The Coalition for Good Governance and Rule of Law feels embodied to remind the Executive Secretary of PEF that his actions in recent times speak volumes of an individual that is insensitive to the plurality of Nigeria that is meant to be all-encompassing and to carry everyone along in the course of our national life. 

We are here to remind The Executive Secretary that the recent recruitment exercise by PEF indeed is the height of insensitivity to the national interest in Nigeria and an indication that his motives are geared towards fulfilling the whims and caprices of a section of the country and against our collective interests as a country. 

It is on record that the recently conducted recruitment exercise under the watch of Executive Secretary Ahmed Bobboi deliberately entrenched a regime of nepotism where out of 200 persons offered employment on July 13 and 14, 2020, only 17 persons were hired from certain oil-producing states, while 173 persons came from non-oil producing states.

This is an anomaly that reveals the inept and insensitivity of the Executive Secretary who has shown to be disjointed and not in tune with the peculiarities of the time that requires creating a level playing ground for all Nigerians to actualize dreams. 

We wish to remind The Executive Secretary that he did not only abuse his office, he also failed to implement the mandate of the Nigerian people by taking sides with a certain section of the country to the detriment of other parts of the country. 

The Executive Secretary may also wish to also be reminded that it is somewhat insensitive for him to find it worthy to approve recruitment into the PEF where it is obvious that the exercise was lopsided and favoured a certain section of the country while ignoring qualified candidates from non-oil-producing states. 

The Executive Secretary’s actions were based on favouritism and ethnicity at the expense of meritocracy which does not resonate with the sustained peace and unity in Nigeria. That under his watch some regions of the country were shortchanged and denied their quota in the recruitment exercise. We submit that his action is despicable and capable of setting the country on a dangerous path of disintegration. 

In all honesty, we wish to state that from the above, Executive Secretary Ahmed Bobboi do not have the moral right to remain in office as the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Equalization Fund and as such we are consequently demanding his resignation from office with immediate effect. 

We are here to demand that Executive Secretary Ahmed Bobboi resign from office or reverse the lopsided recruitment, which is a clear breach of the embargo on recruitment by Mr President, the Coalition for Good Governance and Rule of Law would be left with no option but to occupy the Presidential villa, the SGF’s office and continue to occupy the headquarters of PEF in Abuja as we have started today.

This is on the heels that it is on record that PEF under the leadership of the Executive Secretary has been consistently flouted the directives of the government which is an indication of his disjointed leadership style at the PEF. 

We wish to state that as a law-abiding organization, the Coalition which is made up of the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency and other CSOs will not hesitate to take all necessary legal actions to protect the Nigerian masses and the laws of the land. 

We are by this protest asking the Executive Secretary to tow the path of honour by resigning his position as the executive secretary of the Petroleum Equalization Forthwith. 

We are stating in unequivocal terms that we will use this as a litmus test for other agencies of government who have continued to engage in lopsided recruitment. Nigeria belongs to all and not a selected few and as such it behoves on those saddled with the position of authorities to always act in the interest of the country.  

The plurality of the Nigerian nation must be preserved at all times. and moving forward the Coalition for Good Governance and Rule of Law shall not hesitate to call Nigerians in their numbers out to the streets to demand good governance and the entrenchment of the rule of law.  

While we anticipate that you would heed our counsel, we wish to advise you to honourable in your decision as it would be in the best interest of the country.