…Urges Tanker drivers to shelve strike
By Obas Esiedesa
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has urged Petroleum Tanker Drivers to call off its planned strike, pledging to invest in the rehabilitation of critical roads across the country.
The pledge came barely 24 hours to the beginning of a strike action called by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) to protest the deplorable state roads across the country.
NUPENG had claimed that it took about five to six days for a petrol tanker to move from Lagos to Abuja due to the “shameful state of the roads”.
The strike action is due to commence on Monday. Nigeria transports the bulk of the 65 million per day consumption of premium motor Spirit (petrol) by road due to the poor state of its pipelines occasioned by decades of vandalism.
NNPC in a statement on Sunday by its Group General Manager Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Garba Deen Muhammad urged the drivers to stay action on the planned strike in the interest and welfare of the Nigerian people.
The Corporation stated that “even though it is not the responsibility of the NNPC to build or rehabilitate roads, any disruption in the distrubution of petroleum products to different parts of Nigeria will adversely affect the business of the NNPC and endanger energy security, which the country has enjoyted for a long time now.
“In recognition of this, the NNPC wishes to assure the Petroleum Tanker Drivers that in addition to the ongoing efforts by other agencies of government, the NNPC has initiated a process that will provide a quick and effective solution to the roads network challenges as expressed by the PTD.
“Having recognised that the major reason slowing down the rehabilitation of the road networks in the country is the paucity of funds, the NNPC has expressed interest to invest in the reconstruction of select Federal roads under the Federal Government’s Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Task Credit Scheme”.
Mr. Muhammad explained that the “thrust of the NNPC’s intervention is to make considerable funds available for the reconstruction of roads through it Future Tax Liability.
“NNPC as a responsible corporate entity recognises the legitimate concerns of the PTD, we however appeal to the leadership and members to reconsider their decision in the overall national interest”, he added.
NNPC appealed the Drivers “to immediately call off the strike notice and give the current efforts by government and its agencies a chance to solve the challenges in the interest of all.
“We also wish to strongly advice Nigerians not to engage in panic buying of petroleum products as the NNPC has sufficient stock to last through this festive seasoned and beyond”.