The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the proposed external loan request for the sum of N3 trillion for continuous subsidizing of petrol by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is aimed at stealing funds for next year’s general election.

Mr Buhari recently approved the suspension of petrol subsidy removal which was to be enforced after the first quarter of the year. Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, thereafter announced that a request for the approval of the afro-mentioned amount described as outrageous by some analysts and industry experts will be submitted to federal legislature that has antecedents of approving all loan requests from the executive.

Reacting in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Debo Ologunagba, the opposition party said it will be an unpardonable crime should the request be approved.

The PDP cited an instance in the past where it said funds for subsidy skyrocketed during the year close to the general election.

“Whilst the PDP is not against subsidizing petroleum products for Nigerians, our Party rejects this wicked plot by the APC government to use a heavily padded fuel subsidy claims to surreptitiously funnel trillions of naira into the pockets of corrupt APC leaders and their cronies in government ahead of their shameful exit in 2023.

“The PDP demands a full disclosure of specifics of the subsidy templates including details of cost of importation of petroleum products into the country to warrant the additional N2.557 trillion being requested by the corrupt APC administration.

“The PDP already has information of how corrupt APC leaders pushed for the additional N2.557 trillion to the N443 billion already approved for fuel subsidy in the 2022 budget just to create a surplus as slush fund ostensibly for APC leaders to share as well as deploy to rig the 2023 elections.

“The APC government cannot justify the proposed increase in fuel subsidy in the face of incontrovertible evidence of slowing economy and consequential decrease in consumption of petroleum products in Nigeria due largely to the rudderless, irresponsible and insensitive economic policies of the APC as well as the adverse effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Nigerians have already noted that the proposed increase is consistent with APC’s typical padding of fuel subsidy ahead of every election cycle. Is it not revealing that while fuel subsidy was N24 billion in 2016 and rose to N144.53 billion in 2017, it spiked to N878 billion in 2018 ahead of the 2019 elections; remained at N551.22 billion in the election year of 2019, only to drop to N102 billion in 2020, after the elections?

“It is clear that the APC increased fuel subsidy to N1.4 trillion in 2021 and now barefacedly seeks additional N2.557 trillion to have a cumulative subsidy bill of N3 trillion in 2022 to prosecute the 2023 elections having realized that it has a tough battle with Nigerians because of its monumental failures.

“It is even more disturbing that the proposed increase is to be funded through external borrowings, which will further impoverish Nigerians, mortgage the future of our nation and burden future generation of Nigerians just to finance the insatiable greed of APC leaders.

“The PDP, standing with the Nigerian people, vehemently rejects the bandying of incoherent, unsubstantiated and heavily doctored figures by the APC government in its desperate lies on domestic consumption and landing costs.

“Our Party challenges the APC to present the details of importation costs to Nigerians as no genuine pricing template can support such criminal increase in fuel subsidy beyond the appropriate pricing which experts posit cannot be above N500 billion.

“The PDP therefore calls on the National Assembly to stand with the people and reject the scandalous N2.557 trillion addition for fuel subsidy at this critical time as approving such would be a great and unpardonable disservice to Nigerians,” the PDP advised.