The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has sent out a warning that the present situation of fuel scarcity in Nigeria will not end soon, neither will the country enjoy the benefits of being an ace oil producing nation, having abandoned local refining of petroleum products for importation.
Speaking over the weekend in Ibadan, Oyo state, at the 5th Quadrennial Delegates Conference (QDC) of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of NUPENG, the NUPENG President, Prince William Akporeha expressed his anger at the Niger Delta Governors for refusing to invest in local refining of fuel, but rather on airlines and other areas even though they have Crude Oil at their backyards.
He condemned the constant fuel scarcity in Nigeria, while reiterating that the scarcity will not end in the nearest future because of deliberate policies made by government to import, rather than refine locally.
His words: ‘As tanker drivers, our job is to distribute petroleum products whenever available to every nook and cranny across the country. We can only distribute these products when they are available and we are always ready and will continue to do so’.
‘But if the products are not available, there is nothing we can do. We find it unacceptable whenever we are blamed for scarcity of the products across the country. We hate the buck passing by those concerned, who failed to make the products available.’
‘We cannot understand why the government has refused to invest in local refining of petroleum products. I can tell you that scarcity of fuel will continue in the country in as much as we depend on importation of these products.’
‘As a nation, we have no control of the international market environment because petroleum products are international products. The vagaries of the international market are what we are suffering today as seen in the high and rising costs of fuel globally. Nigeria is the only oil producing country that depends on importation of products. Refining is not a rocket science.’
The outgoing National Chairman of the PTD and National Trustee of NUPENG, Otunba Salimon Oladiti, on his part, expressed his gratitude to the members and National leaders as well, for all the support they showed him during his time in office which lasted for eight years.
As he reeled out over 12-point achievements recorded during his time in office, Oladiti stated that he was happy that the annual capacity training organized program for Tanker drivers in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Commission in Lagos, Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt, among others, went a long way to reduce accidents involving tanker drivers.
As for the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), their position is that the recent fuel scarcity in Nigeria is as a result of the high cost of transporting the products from the port. Although the Abuja fuel crisis commenced in 2021 after the government announced its intention to remove subsidy on the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, there was another major shortage of the product in the country again in February 2022 and this has caused a lot of inconveniences to Nigerians in big cities like Kaduna, Lagos and Warri.