By Olasunkanmi Akoni
LAGOS—THE Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, on Monday, directed its Petroleum Tankers Drivers, PTD, to suspend its ongoing strike in Lagos State after the union reached an agreement with Lagos State government and other stakeholders.
Recall that the tanker drivers had began an indefinite strike, Monday, following Friday’s directive by NUPENG for members of the PTD, Lagos zone, to shut fuel distribution in Lagos and its environs over take-over of access roads to tank farms and fuel depots by containerised trucks, among other grievances.
Other grievances of the union are deplorable state of the roads and extortion of tanker drivers by security operatives in Lagos and its environs,
NUPENG, in a statement by its President and General Secretary, Prince Williams Akporeha, and Olawale Afolabi, respectively, lamented perceived failure of various authorities in the state to address three major issues that have caused pains and harrowing experiences on the hapless petroleum drivers in the state for several months.
A communiqué, at the end of the closed-door meeting, was signed on behalf of state government by Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr, Olalere Odubote, and Deputy National President, NUPENG, Solomon Kilanko signed on behalf of NUPENG. It read:
Security Agenda: The state government will meet with the heads of all security agencies and secure their commitment to ensure the free passage of petroleum products vehicles given their importance to the economy.
Area Boys: The menace of area boys (louts) will be handled by relevant government agencies and a dedicated phone number will be established, within the next week, to ensure that petroleum products transporters have prompt access to security agencies.
Ad hoc levies: The issue of extra-ordinary levies on tankers drivers by a particular local government will be investigated and local government will immediately be advised to collect only levies that are legally due.
Bad Roads: It is understood by the parties that road works are a necessary path to progress; the state government will continue to relate with all road users in the planning and execution of road works in the state
Over-loading: The downstream petroleum union has committed to ensuring that all tankers are loaded within the capacities provided for in the regulations and communicated by DPR.
Timing of Movement: Lagos State will within the next one week review the restriction of timing of movement of the petroleum tankers and advise a resolution to ease their access to the tank farms. Union also notes that the ongoing road works are a temporary inhibitor of movement.
Coordination: Lagos State Government will immediately set up a standing committee to relate with the union on an ongoing basis to address any issues as may arise.
Others in attendance were Executive Council members: Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Fred Oladeinde; Local Government and Community Affairs, Dr. Wale Ahmed; Information and Strategy Commissioner, Gbenga Omotoso; Babatunde Williams and Vice Chairman, Presidential Task Team, Mr. Kayode Opeifa,