Controlling Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Saturday absolved the federal government of any blames in the current fuel crisis in the country.
Speaking during an interactive session with finance correspondents in Abuja on Saturday, Okonjo-Iweala said most of the marketers were blackmailing the government and by extension, Nigerians.
She urged Nigerians to rise up and ask questions on why the marketers reneged on their promise a fortnight ago after they openly told the entire country that they had sorted out their differences with the government and that they were going to end the scarcity.
She said soon after that open declaration, the marketers went back and shut down their supply chains, noting that they had requested her to sign that government was going to pay them N159 billion as foreign exchange differentials out of the N200 billion claims they were making.
The Finance Minister stated that the marketers, who had earlier agreed with the setting up of an ad hoc committee made up of their representatives, those of Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Debt Management Office (DMO), and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to verify their claims suddenly backed out.
On why the marketers have not been paid, the minister said she could not sign off monies that she would find difficult to explain to Nigerians later.
She applauded some marketers that have demonstrated patriotic disposition to this current crisis, but noted that many marketers had resorted to black market operations and had kept on fleecing Nigerians.
The minister, who said she had no regrets serving Nigeria despite attacks from different quarters, noted that it was a privilege serving one’s fatherland .