By Clara Nwachukwu & Victor Ahiuma-Young
NATIONAL Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has directed Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, in Lagos and its environs to suspend lifting of products from today to protest alleged release by police of 20 trucks and their drivers including some tanker drivers arrested while allegedly mixing diesel and kerosine at AGS Barma Yard.
Leadership of NUPENG has, therefore, vowed not to lift any product until police re-arrest and prosecute the suspects whom the union described as â€œeconomic saboteurs and enemies of the society.â€
Vanguard gathered that the suspects were arrested on Friday, but were released the following day after an alleged meeting with the management of AGS Barma.
Confirming the development, Chairman, Western Zone of NUPENG, Comrade Tokunbo Korodo, accused the police of not only compromising, but also aiding and abetting economic saboteurs.
Comrade Korodu said: â€œOn Friday, our task force got wind that some people were allegedly adulterating diesel and kerosine at AGS Barma Yard. Our team moved in swiftly but they were stopped at the gate by a detachment of police from Itire.
“I called on the Commissioner of Police and reported the matter. He gave the number of Area D, Mushin, commander to me. I called the commander and he called the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, before we were allowed into the yard.
“At the yard, 20 trucks and their drivers were allegedly mixing diesel with kerosine. They were promptly arrested and moved to Itire Police station. From there, in company of some of our men they were taken to Area D.”
N270bn spent to subsidise fuel imports â€”PPPRA
Meanwhile, Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, said weekend that the Federal Government spent N270 billion to subsidise the importation of petroleum products by marketers in the last seven months.
Executive Secretary, PPPRA, Mr. Abiodun Ibikunle, who disclosed this while briefing journalists on activities of the agency assured that queues were not likely to return in the country as adequate provisions had been made to ensure uninterrupted supply of petroleum products.
Ibikunle said since assumption of office, the agency had deregulated the importation of fuel into the country to bring in more players especially â€œtradersâ€ outside the major and independent marketers to ensure that scarcity did not resurface in any part of the country.
He debunked allegations that the agency was allocating licence for importation of products to â€œportfolio holding businessmenâ€ who lacked the capacity to deliver on the volume allocated to them, while those with the capacity had been sidelined.