The Federal Government has accused indicted oil marketers in the subsidy fraud for the artificial fuel scarcity, which has led to lengthy queues in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Addressing journalists on Friday, Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala alleged that the indicted oil marketers were attempting to blackmail the government and arm-twist it into making payments to them.
Iweala who declared that the Federal Government will not succumb to the blackmail tactics of the marketers, claimed that they were planning to extend the scarcity nationwide.
She said that the government is committed to recovering the excess payment made to the indicted oil marketers. She said that claims by the same marketers that the government owed them can only be addressed after the recovery of the funds belonging to the people.
The Finance minister noted that all the oil marketers with genuine payment claims have been addressed by the Federal Government, while the Ministry was still negotiating with others who have less fraudulent issues.
She reiterated claims by the Petroleum Minister that the Federal Government has fuel reserves that will last the country for forty five days.
The Minister released a list of 24 companies that have been indicted and suspected to be behind the conflict.
Observers are worried that the Federal Government has continued to treat the oil marketers with kid gloves, rather than take measures to ensure that they do not cripple the Federal Capital Territory.