There may be looming fuel scarcity as the national executive council of Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD)’s branch of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has directed for a nationwide strike as it blamed the federal government over the poor state of highways and other safety issues.
This was contained in a communique issued on Monday after a meeting held on Saturday in Enugu, signed by the PTD chairman, Comrade Salmon Akanni Oladiti, and the Secretary, Sunday OchibeJivwie.
The union said, after deliberating on these important safety issues, the Council resolved to resume the suspended action of 1st May 2021.
“Consequently, all petroleum tanker drivers are directed to immediately embark on work to rule action with effect from 27th September 2021, in preparation for total withdrawal of their services from 8th October 2021 if the federal government fails to address these three safety concerns,” it said.
It justified the planned strike action, saying its members are usually the first casualties in all these areas of government’s failures with regard to the safety of lives and property of Nigerians.
If the strike holds, there may be petroleum scarcity as the drivers would not be lifting products from the various depots and other storage facilities belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), a government-owned agency.
The first issue the union raised was about the deplorable and unmanageable state of roads.
“These highways have turned to death traps and dens of truck hijackers for the PTD.
“Our members are losing their lives and sources of livelihood on an hourly basis,” the union lamented.
It also blamed the federal government for not enforcing the installation of petroleum trucks safety valves since they harped on it in March this year.
“The Council noted with deep concerns the refusal of the federal government to enforce the compulsory installation of safety valves in all petroleum trucks to protect the inflammable contents of these trucks from spilling over in a situation of road mishaps.”
The union said it regarded this failure as insensitivity on the part of the government, noting that the installation of the safety valve would greatly cut down the rate of fire accidents involving petroleum trucks.
The union was also concerned about the abuse of tonnage capacity by marketers and transporters which it said is affecting the safety of drivers and the durability of highways.
“The Council in session could not fathom any logical reason for the failure of the government to ensure compliance with basic tonnage requirements on the highways,” the communique read.