Nigerians are suffering massively from scarcity of petroleum products and want answers. The outgoing coordinating minister of petroleum Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has been on the firing line following accusations by marketers that she has been the one delaying payments.
The Minister came out swinging and had this response to marketers during her farewell meeting with reporters. Here is how The Nation reported the story
She told reporters at a farewell meeting in Abuja that she would not approve payment of the claims unless verified by the relevant authorities.
“Marketers were asking for N159 billion for exchange rate differentials from the outstanding N200 billion. There has been so much fraud and scam so I have refused to sign for that money but have agreed that a committee be set up involving the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to verify marketers’ claims,” she said.
”Marketers just want to make Nigerians suffer,” she added.
The minister also slammed the marketers for allegedly blackmailing Nigerians and asked the people to resist.
Insisting that the current fuel scarcity has nothing to do with paying the marketers, she said: “They are making a lot of money from black market activities, people should rise up against the blackmail of oil marketers.
“I will not pay the N159 billion without verification, Nigerians should not allow themselves to be blackmailed.”
The minister said there was something curious about the supply of and payment for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
Her words: “I cannot say that the problem is due to not paying marketers, the process of paying marketers is always a rolling process and there has never been a time government reduced its financial obligation to marketers to zero.
“In a year where so much effort has been made to pay marketers including prioritizing their payment as subsidy claims in favour of other financial obligation like paying contractors, yet fuel scarcity still persists at this particular point in time suggests that something suspicious is happening.”
She responded to the claim by Vice President-elect, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, that the Jonathan administration will be leaving a $60 billion debt burden for the in-coming government.