By Yemie Adeoye & Daniel Alfred
AT the onset of the yuletide season, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said the nation has petroleum sufficiency for over forty days that would serve the country all through the forthcoming Christmas holiday season and thereafter.
Group General Manager of the Group Public Affairs Division of the Corporation, Dr.Levi Ajuonuma stated this while briefing newsmen after a fact finding mission to the Suleja depot of NNPC to ascertain the root cause of the recent fuel scarcity being experienced in Abuja and environs.
He confirmed that the one day industrial action embarked upon by the Petroleum Tanker Drivers was responsible for the chaotic fuel situation being experienced by motorists in filling stations in Abuja and environs as over 110 trucks loaded with petroleum products for Abuja could not be dispatched.
Dr. Ajuonuma who commended the Petroleum Tanker Drivers for heeding the patriotic call to suspend their strike maintained that importation licences have been given to major and independent marketers to ensure steady supply of petroleum products in order to ameliorate the sufferings of the people during the yuletide season.
â€œWell, let me make it abundantly clear that both Independent and Major Marketers who have the capacity have been given licences to import but they have not being able to do so because of the Banking reform. The good news is that NNPC as the last resort of petroleum products has risen to the occasion to bridge the gapâ€, Ajuonuma asserted.
He emphasized that with the suspension of the strike by the tanker drivers normalcy would soon return to the filling stations and appealed to motorists to desist from panic buying.
The Group General Manager of the Corporation also commended President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua for awarding contracts for the rehabilitation of several roads across the country and appealed to the Tanker Drivers to exercise patience as the roads would soon be repaired.
Receiving newsmen in his office, the Depot Manager of Suleja Depot Engineer Ahmad Tukur Gwarzo said over 110 trucks were dispatched from the depot on Monday for Abuja and environs but could not be supplied to filling stations because Petroleum Tanker Drivers were on strike.
He disclosed that the Suleja depot dispatched Petroleum motor spirit (petrol), Dual purpose kerosene (DPK) and Automotive Gas Oil( AGO) but all the products were stuck because of the PTD impasse.
Earlier, at the Suleja depot while announcing the suspension of the strike, the Unit Secretary of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, Comrade Aliyu M. Abddullahi disclosed that they have been directed by the National leadership of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, to suspend the one day strike.
Fielding questions from newsmen on why they proceeded on strike, Comrade Abdullahi said the strike was informed by the bad nature of Nigerian roads which has claimed the lives of so many of their members and the N1.2 billion debt being owed them by MTEL for unpaid petroleum products.
â€œActually we were unable to release trucks yesterday being Monday November 30th because of a directive from the NUPENG headquarters for us to suspend petroleum product supply to Abuja , but today we have been directed again to immediately resume petroleum product supply to Abuja ,â€ he explained.