Details of the wholesale scamming were revealed in a scathing 205 page official report that stunned citizens including Nobel Peace Prize winner Wole Soyinka.
A parliamentary probe, covering 2009 to 2011, found that dozens of petrol marketers, including the state oil company, helped themselves to payments for fuel that did not exist or was sold abroad - siphoning billions of dollars into the pockets of corrupt officials and businessmen.
"Nigerians have been suffering under the deceit of a select few that has milked us all dry in the name of fuel subsidy," said Lawan Farouk, head of the committee that led the probe.
The oil imports were designed to subsidize the price that Nigerians paid at the pump. It was considered one of the few benefits from being an oil-rich country.
Officials in the Goodluck Jonathan administration were named in the report as were 15 fuel importers who allegedly received over $300 million without importing any fuel. More than 100 oil marketers may have double billed. In one case, invoices of 999 million Nigerian dollars were OK’d for payment 128 times in 24 hours.
Mobil Oil contests the figure of $95 million supposedly owed to Nigeria.
Nobel winner Soyinka expressed dismay at the size of the ripoff. He urged Nigerians to return to the streets as they did in January during the Occupy Nigeria protests. ”It is enough. Nigerians must be prepared to march, must be prepared to come out en masse and demand a termination of these years of insolence against the ordinary people.”
Of those named in the report, many deny taking part in fraud, with some taking out full-page newspaper ads proclaiming their innocence. w/pix of anti-corruption rally