By Uche Amunike
The planned strike proposed by the National Union of Petroleum and Gas Workers (NUPENG,) by its affiliate members, the Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD) which would have kicked off on Monday has been suspended as a result of the Federal Government’s intervention.
NUPENG’s Southwest Zonal chairman, Tayo Aboyeji stated this during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Lagos.
He explained that they had to call of the strike in order to allow representatives of the union and that of the government to look at the issues at stake and seek ways to address them.
According to him after both parties liaised, they jointly agreed to the suspension of the strike after going to the drawing board, saying that it was for the interest of the nation that they had to make that move.
They will meet with the government during the week to discuss further and to address all the union grievances positively, he assured.
Recall that NUPENG announced, Saturday that tanker drivers would begin their strike on Monday over the terrible state of the nation’s highways and other issues.
Aboyeji confirmed that the Union had lost so many lives and property to bad roads and that it wasn’t the first time that they declared their intention to go on strike, noting that this time, they had to call it off because of how badly it would affect a great majority of Nigerians.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Garba Deen Muhammad, has also appealed to the drivers to shelve their planned strike in order to avoid further affecting the economy and Nigerians in general.
Muhammad stated that road repairs or rehabilitation was not the responsibility of the NNPC, however, any disruption in the distribution of petroleum products to different parts of the country will not only affect the business of the petroleum corporation, but also endanger energy security which the nation has enjoyed in recent times.
He assured the Petroleum Tanker Drivers that in addition to the ongoing efforts by other agencies of government, the NNPC has started the process that will bring about a quick and effective solution to the road network challenges they have complained about.
He urged the drivers to instantly call off the planned strike and give the current initiatives by the government and its agencies a chance to solve the problems in the interest of everybody concerned.
He also assured that the NNPC has expressed interest in investing in the reconstruction of the select Federal roads under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.
He added that the thrust of the NNPC intervention is to ensure that considerable funds are made available for the construction of roads through its future tax liability.
He also advised Nigerians not to be involved in the usual panic buying of petroleum products, saying that the NNPC has sufficient stock that will last throughout the festive season and beyond.