Nigeria: Respite As Tanker Drivers Suspend Strike

Yemisi Izuora

Respite has come to vehicle owners and commuters as the Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD) section of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the National Association of Transport Owners (NARTO)  suspends its strike action.

The suspension was prompted by the intervention of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which confirmed the development after a meeting with the leaders of the unions.

The NNPC, group managing director Dr. Maikanti Baru was at the head of the meeting with the union leaders which led to the suspension of the strike.

Also, South-West Zonal Chairman for NUPENG, Tokunbo Korodo confirmed that the strike has been called off.

The unions had announced at the weekend that their members would withdraw their services starting from Monday, April 3.

National President of NUPENG, Igwe Achese, who made the announcement in Lagos, listed the reasons for the industrial action to include unfavourable working conditions and poor welfare package.

Before the strike was called suspended, activities at fuel depots across the country were partially disrupted as the unions prevented tankers from loading petroleum products.

Meanwhile, the Federal government has expressed concerns over what it described as unconventional methods and environmental pollution that may arise from the activities of local refineries in the country.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu hinted on federal government’s worries while speaking with a delegation of American Investors led by the pioneer Chairman of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Chief Wellington Okirika.

Kachikwu confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari was deeply worried about the possible environmental degradation and pollution associated with the crude methods that may be adopted by local refinery operators in the Niger Delta region.

He disclosed that the Federal Government had decided to encourage the establishment of modular refineries which would assist local operators to key into the project.

In a related development, the federal government increased the bridging cost allowance of petroleum products from N6.20k to N7.20k to pacify the oil workers. Kachikwu approved the increment as announced by Baru in Abuja.

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