Some of the oil marketers who fraudulently received subsidy payments have returned the illegal monies, the government said yesterday.
The Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, disclosed this after a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
“From the report we got today, some have started refunding; it is a serious case that people were paid for vessels that were not anywhere near the Nigerian waters,” Mr. Obi said
“When the Federal Government does a thing that is courageous and right, it should be encouraged to do more,” the Anambra Governor added.
Mr. Obi did not disclose the marketers who had refunded money or the amount recovered from them.
A presidential committee indicted dozens of oil marketers for fraud in the subsidy payments, and asked them to refund N382 billion.
Some of the companies and their owners are already being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, last week mentioned 21 of the marketers as being responsible for instigating an oil workers strike.
She accused the marketers, who were the most culpable in the subsidy scandal, of blackmailing the Federal Government using the oil workers. Some of those mentioned by Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala include Conoil Plc, MRS petroleum, and Eterna oil.
The oil workers, under the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers, have since called of their planned strike after several meetings with the Government.
Govs support FG
Mr. Obi also disclosed that the NEC supported the actions taken by the Federal Government on the fuel subsidy scandal.
“Council commends the Federal Government on its stand in the prosecution of those who were wrongly paid the subsidy money and on the need for them to refund it fully,” he said.
The economic council is made up of the 36 state governors, some ministers and presidential aides, and is usually headed by the Vice-President.
The council also endorsed the actions taken by the Federal Government on the Subsidy Re-investment Programme, Mr. Obi said.
The Anambra governor said the council was briefed by Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala that the programme would generate 270 thousand jobs by the federal government and five thousand jobs in each of the 36 states of Nigeria.
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