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Another fuel crisis is looming in the country as Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) begin a nationwide strike today to protest alleged poor treatment by their employers and harassment by some security agencies.
Ahead of the exercise, the aggrieved oil workers on Sunday withdrew their trucks from the roads across the country.
The PTD members’ resolve to embark on the strike was announced yesterday by their parent union, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, the South West Zone Chairman of NUPENG, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, said that his members have been fully mobilised to ensure that there would be no movement of petroleum tankers as the nationwide strike begins today.
Korodo said that all the tanker drivers have abandoned their trucks in respect of the indefinite strike, adding that only the Federal Government’s intervention would save Nigerians from the hardship the strike would impose on them.
He said that the drivers were forced to down tools due to unresolved issues concerning their welfare, poor remuneration, insecurity and bad roads.
According to him, “the tanker drivers, for the past three years, have been appealing to the Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) to increase their salary but they refused on the ground that spare parts prices had increased”.
“NARTO said that the government has not increased their freight, so they will not increase the workers’ salaries. Apart from this, most of the roads they ply are bad and this has resulted in accidents or damaging of their trucks.”
“The activities of the officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on the roads are not helping the matter. The tanker drivers are forced to break the seal of their product on the pretext that they were carrying adulterated products.
“Most of these drivers are harassed by these officers, at times the tanker and the driver will be detained for close to a month’’.
He added that more than 2,000 members of staff of Capital Oil and Gas Industries Ltd were on the line due to the closure of their facility by the Federal Government due to some issues between the company and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
He said that the union wanted the government to resolve the matter so that the company would be opened and the workers and tanker drivers would resume duty.
Korodo, however, said that the strike would not affect activities in filling stations, depots or refineries across the nation.
On March 31, 2017, the PTD branch of the NUPENG said that they would begin a nationwide strike on April 3.
NUPENG’s President, Mr. Igwe Achese, announced this in a communique in Lagos at the end of its Central Working Committee meeting held at the union’s secretariat in Yaba.
The union, in the communique, said that the strike was designed to draw the attention of the Federal Government and other stakeholders to some unresolved issues on the welfare of workers, bad roads, poor remuneration, insecurity and the alleged excesses of some security agencies.
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