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Finance Ministry Label Oil Marketers 'Blackmailers'

Listen to article understands that the Federal Ministry of Finance has denounced claims made by some Nigerian oil marketers that they have embarked on strike as a result of the Federal Government's inability to pay them for fuel imports.

The Ministry, while cautioning Nigerians to be wary of their antics of the protesting oil marketers, described their claims as an obvious intention to blackmail the Federal Government in order to escape sanctions for the crimes they have committed.

  In a statement issued by the Mr. Paul C. Nwabuikwu, Senior Special Assistant to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance and made available to, the Ministry explained that, 'The true position is that the Federal Government has been meeting its obligations to oil marketers in respect of all legitimate claims.

The statement titled: 'Threats of strikes and queues in fuel stations; said, 'For instance, between April and May 2012, Batches D/12 and E/12 involving 14 oil marketers with a claim of N17 billion were fully settled through the issuance of Sovereign Debt Notes and other relevant documentation.

'In addition, since the directive by the Coordinating Minister to the DMO to continue payments of all verified claims, N25.6 billion worth of claims have been fully settled with the issuance of Sovereign Debt Notes.

'In all, between April and August this year, in respect of 2012 PMS claims, Sovereign Debt Notes amounting to N42.666 billion have been issued to 31 oil marketers.

'However, the claims by marketers who have been recommended for further investigation by the Aig-Imoukhuede Presidential Committee have not been paid.

'Payments or sanctions to this category of marketers will be determined by the outcome of investigations.

'Against this background, it is clear that the strike was instigated mainly by marketers who were indicted by the Aig-Imoukhuede Committee which investigated fuel subsidy payments.

'Their obvious intention is to blackmail the Federal Government in order to escape sanctions for the crimes they have committed.

'Nigerians should not be deceived by their antics.

'Such tactics will not succeed because the Federal Government is determined to ensure that persons and organisations which did the wrong things do not get away with wrong actions and wrong behavior'.

'As we have communicated severally in the last few months, payment of marketers whose claims have been verified will continue to go on in a consistent and structured way which protects the best interests of the country.

'All marketers who have genuine issues to raise regarding their claims are encouraged to come forward for discussions or clarifications.'