By Victor Ahiuma-Young
ABUJA — Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers, NUPENG, weekend, decried allegation by the Presidency that the National Assembly cut N11.5 bilion from allocations to critical infrastructure like roads in the 2018 national budget.
NUPENG in a statement in Abuja, argued that cutting allocations meant for crucial and very critical infrastructural projects with huge socio-economic impacts on national and regional roads like the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, second Niger Bridge, ancillary roads, East-West road, Bonny-Bodo road and others, to say the least, was unreasonable and insensitive to the yearning of the people .
In the statement by its President, Prince Williams Akporeha, NUPENG threatened that it might be forced to mobilise against members of the National Assembly if nothing was done to remedy the situation to make the nation’s highways motorable
The statement read in part: “We are still in shock that these critical trunk roads, which play significant roles, particularly in the value chain of the oil and gas downstream sector and other critical and crucial economic activities in the country would be expunged from the national budget at a time the union is craving for state of emergency on Nigerian roads.”
“NUPENG strongly believes that the constitutional direction of a national budget must be patriotically designed to consolidate the achievements of previous budgets to deliver on Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan as envisaged by the current government, which is in the same line of logical, reasonable and responsible thought process that we expect from our federal lawmakers.
However, the union cannot afford to fold its hands whilst our hardworking and patriotic members’ lives are being carelessly and pitiably wasted on the highways as well as facing unimaginable hazards on the roads, particularly the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of NUPENG, whose main professional calling to the service of our nation is the lifting and distribution of petroleum products across the length and breadth of the nation in order to energize social and economic activities of all Nigerians.”
We hate to always raise concerns over road accidents involving our members as a result of deplorable conditions of nation’s road networks. It is also an open secret that the current nature of our roads is a real contributory factor to tanker accidents which we are experiencing virtually on daily basis; unfortunately the 2018 Appropriation Act which we thought could save us from this life threatening menace has again dashed our hope.
NUPENG is using this medium to call on all relevant stakeholders in government especially the Legislature and the Executive to urgently reconsider all the aforementioned road infrastructure projects as well as other critical areas affecting the oil and gas sector that were flippantly jettisoned from the budget in the interest of all Nigerians and also for the entrenchment and sustenance of industrial growth and development.