Major oil marketers accused of being behind planned fuel strike

by Akan Ido

The Federal Government has revealed that the fuel scarcity currently being experienced by residents of Abuja, is caused by several companies found to have been involved in the fuel subsidy saga.

According to the minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Conoil, which is owned by Mr. Mike Adenuga, and other companies such as Eterna Oil, whose directors are Mahmud Tukur, son of Peoples’ Democratic Party National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, and Fola Adeola, the vice presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the 2011 elections; and MRS Oil and Gas, reportedly owned by businessman Sayyu Dantata were also found to be instigators of the fuel crisis.

The minister said, “It is clear that those behind the strikes are marketers being investigated for possible fraud. These elements have now resorted to hiding behind the unions to unnecessarily antagonize government and create hardship for Nigerians.”

According to Premium Times reports, some of the companies indicted were found to have tendered names of fictional ships to claim subsidy payments from the federal government amounting to N13bn.

Others were involved in tendering conflicting reports of vessel locations and activities where a ship in another country is claimed by importers to be delivering petroleum products in Nigeria at the same time. This infraction was said to have cost the country about N21bn.

The minister insisted that the FG is undaunted by the activities of these fraudulent marketers. It has chosen to settle all marketers with “legitimate and unencumbered” claims insisting that such marketers will continue to be paid.

In all, between April and August this year, N42.666bn have been paid to 31 oil marketers.

“Government will continue to encourage honest efforts by genuine companies engaged in fuel importation but we will not fall for the cheap blackmail of indicted marketers who are using all kinds of subterfuge to escape sanctions,” Okonjo Iweala warned.

The minister disclosed that the government is, however, in discussion with some companies also indicted by the Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede committee. These companies are viewed to have committed minor offenses which could be easily corrected.

She said these group of fraudulent marketers would have money deducted from the legitimate subsidy claims which the government owes them.

With the proposed strike by oil workers slated for next week, it is expected that the whole country will be crippled by the effects of the scarcity if all stakeholders do not come to an amicable agreement.

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