The Southern Mandate, a coalition of socio-political groups in the South- west, South-south and South-eastern geo-political zones of the country, has called on the Federal Government to hold indicted oil marketers responsible for any ill that happens to both the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Maduekwe, and her finance counterpart, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
In a statement issued Saturday in Abuja and signed by six coordinators of the coalition, Messrs Tito Zuokumor, Victor Akpe, Obi Okoroma, Fadairo Bamidele, and Dr. Odafe Wilson Omene, the group expressed concerns at continuous attacks on the two ministers.
It further noted that the attacks were not only directed at the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, but also targeted at President Goodluck Jonathan.
It called on relevant security agencies to take appropriate steps towards ensuring that the duo were adequately protected against any form of physical attack, even as it warned those allegedly involved in the sinister plots against them to desist forthwith or face the wrath of the masses.
Should the attacks continue, the group said it would join issues with oil marketers indicted in the various reports of the fuel subsidy probe.
While affirming its unflinching support for the administration of President Jonathan in his drive to cleanse the rot in the oil industry and other sectors of the economy, the group urged Mrs. Allison-Maduekwe and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala not to be deterred by the attacks and threats on their persons, but continue to perform their functions to the best of their capabilities and in the interest of the nation.
It said: "There is no doubt that the persistent attacks and plots against the two ministers is because they hold the key positions touching directly of the nucleus of the nation's economy and the cabal in the oil sector have been dislocated and uncomfortable with the tight fiscal policies introduced by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy in the management of oil subsidy.