• en

Nigeria’s Nationwide Fuel Scarcity May Worsen as Tanker Drivers Threaten Strike

They blame ‘illegal’ activities, high-handedness of security agents for decision.

The current fuel supply shortages nationwide may get worse in the coming days if the Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers known as PTD-NUPENG, makes good its threat to embark on a nationwide strike.

 The union blamed what it termed the illegal activities and  high-handedness of security agents, particularly the military task force operating in the Port Harcourt zone of the union for the planned decision.

National Chairman of the PTD- NUPENG,  Lucky Osesua , who made the disclosure in Abuja, stated that men of the military task force operating in Port Harcourt burnt two trucks belonging to the union conveying High Pour Fuel Oil (HPFO), otherwise known as black oil.

Osesua noted that the product mostly used as boilers, heaters and sailing of ships, among others, and the vehicle conveying it were torched on  Tuesday night, alleging that the truck drivers were falsely accused of transporting crude oil despite evidence to the contrary.

According to the PTD-NUPENG national chairman, the trucks which lifted the black oil at a modular refinery, Walter Smith Refinery and Petrochemical, Ibigwe Imo State, on Monday and Tuesday,   were intercepted  between Ahoada and Elele in Rivers state.

The union leader said the trucks that were razed were marked EFR 770 XA and AFZ 351 ZY, further disclosing that the vehicles were conveying 40,000 litres each of the black oil to Bob & Sea Depot in Koko, Delta State.

He maintained that the drivers of the two trucks were polite in their responses and presented all the necessary documents to the personnel of the military who he said ignored the documents, rebuffed appeals and eventually burnt the trucks.

“The drivers presented waybills, NUPENG receipts and quality control documents. But the military men still insisted that they carried crude oil. They drove the  two trucks away and burnt them between Ahoada and Elele in Rivers state on Tuesday night.

“Without investigation and without reaching out to the refinery where the drivers mentioned that they lifted the black oil, the soldiers burnt down the trucks, in less than five hours,” the PTD-national chairman who presented the documents backing up his claims to newsmen, said.

He also made public documents signed by the Refinery  Manager of Walter Smith Refinery and Petrochemical, Charles  Okon, where he said the products were loaded.

Osesua explained that the union has taken a decision to stop lifting products at its Port Harcourt zone, adding that same decision to stop loading nationwide would be taken by Monday, except damages incurred as a result of the alleged high-handedness of the military task force were addressed.

He added: “Enough is enough about the high-handedness of our security agents. They should stop demonising our  union and persecuting our men who are doing their normal business.

“We expect that in this modern world, trained security agents should be able to identify black oil as against crude oil. We should not be at the receiving end of their ignorance.”

According to him, after razing the trucks, the security personnel  moved to clean up their actions by mobilising scrap pickers to the location.

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja