Nigeria may witness an oil crisis soon as petroleum tanker drivers have threatened to go on strike.
The drivers under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have threatened to embark on an industrial action from October 8, 2021 should the Federal Government fail to address all the contentious issues confronting the union.
It has also directed all the tanker drivers to commence a work-to-rule action from Monday.
The union in a communiqué signed by the chairman of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch, Salmon Akanni Oladiti, after its executive meeting in Enugu yesterday, listed three actions which bordered on the safety of its members and the Federal Government reneging on its earlier promise.
According to Oladiti, the union at its meeting on March 27, 2021, had drawn government’s attention to the increasing rate of fire incidences involving petroleum trucks with accompanying destruction of lives and properties of its members and the public.
Recall that the union had threatened to embark on a nationwide strike from May 1, but later suspended it.
Oladiti said: “Council in session observed with grave concerns and disappointment the deplorable and shameful conditions of the Nigerian highways in spite of several calls and threats we have issued to the various layers of governments.
“These highways have turned to death traps and dens of truck highjackers for the Petroleum Tanker Drivers. Our members are losing their lives and sources of livelihood on hourly basis.”
He also noted the refusal of the Federal Government to enforce the compulsory installation of safety valve in all petroleum trucks to protect the inflammable contents of trucks from spilling over in a situation of road mishaps.
“The Council in session sees the failure of the Federal Government in this regard as the height of insensitivity to the lives of innocent Nigerians and the union cannot continue to fold its hands while our members are getting burnt everywhere and everyday,” he stated.
The PTD chairman equally said the union considered with pains and total disgust the continued unscrupulous abuse of the tonnage capacity of petroleum trucks by marketers and transporters across the country which is negatively affecting and impacting on the safety and control of drivers on the wheels as well as the durability and sustainability of the highways. Noting that NUPENG could not fathom any logical reason for the failure of government to ensure compliance with basic tonnage requirements on the highways, he said the abuse contributes in no small measure to the increasing carnage on the highways with accompanying loss of lives and properties and the continuing damages of the highways.
He, however, said the union after exhaustive deliberations on all the highly important safety issues, unanimously resolved to resume the suspended action “from 8th of October 2021 if the Federal Government fails to address these three key safety measures in view of the fact that our members are usually the first casualties in all these areas of government failures with regard to safety of lives and properties of Nigerians.”
He added: “The Branch Executive Council in session is not unmindful of the pains and discomfort our decisions and intending actions will have on the general public but these are hard and difficult decisions we must take for the sake of our members and even the general public.”