By Raji Rasak
The National Union of Petroleum and Gas Workers (NUPENG) on Sunday said that the planned strike by its affiliate members, Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), has been suspended.
The strike, which would have kicked off on Monday, was shelved because of the intervention by the Federal Government.
Mr Tayo Aboyeji, the South-West Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
According to Aboyeji, the suspension is to allow union’s representatives and that of government to address the knotty issues at stake.
“The leadership of the union after a brief meeting with representatives of government decided to suspend the strike in the interest of the nation.
“The meeting with the government continues during the week with the assurance that the union grievances will be positively addressed,” he said.
NAN reports that NUPENG has said on Saturday that the tanker drivers would commence strike on Monday over the deplorable state of the nation’s highways and other issues.
Aboyeji said the union has lost many lives and property due to bad roads.
“This is not the first time that we will signify our intention to go on strike but we have to call it off because it will generally affect majority of Nigerians but now our hands are tied,” he said.
NAN also reports that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Sunday appealed to the drivers to immediately shelve their planned strike in order not to further hurt the economy and Nigerians in general.
Mr Garba Deen, the NNPC Spokesman, made the appeal in a statement in Abuja.
“While it is not the responsibility of the NNPC to build or rehabilitate roads, the national oil company reckons that any disruption in the distribution of petroleum products to different parts of Nigeria will adversely affect the business of the NNPC.
“It will also endanger energy security, which the country has enjoyed in recent times.
“In recognition of this, the NNPC wishes to assure the petroleum tanker drivers that in addition to the ongoing efforts by other agencies of government, the NNPC has initiated a process that will provide a quick and effective solution to the road network challenges as expressed by the PTD,’ he stated.
“We urge PTD to immediately call off the (planned) strike and give the current efforts by the government and its agencies a chance to solve the challenges in the interest of all.
“We also wish to strongly advise Nigerians not to engage in panic buying of petroleum products as the NNPC has sufficient stock to last through this festive season and beyond,’ he said. (NAN)