January 5, 2023

Petrol: Tanker drivers threaten strike over harassment by security agents

Kogi tanker fire: 80% of fuel tankers lack critical safety features — Oil marketers


By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja

The Petroleum Tanker Drivers Branch of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (PTD-NUPENG) has threatened to stop loading petroleum products nationwide by Monday next week over harassment of its members by security agents.

The drivers, who are aggrieved over the burning of two tankers driven by its members, accused security agents, particularly, the Military Task Force operating in the Port Harcourt zone of highhandedness.

National Chairman of the PTD-NUPENG, Comrade Lucky Osesua in a statement in Abuja explained that the Military Task Force operating in Port Harcourt burnt two trucks conveying High Pour Fuel Oil, HPFO, otherwise known as black oil on Tuesday night as the truck drivers were falsely accused of transporting crude oil.

Osesua disclosed that the trucks which lifted the black oil at a modular refinery, Walter Smith Refinery and Petrochemical Ibigwe Imo State, on Monday and Tuesday, were intercepted between Ahoada and Elele in Rivers State.

He said the trucks with plate numbers EFR 770 XA and AFZ 351 ZY, were conveying 40,000 liters each of the Black Oil to Bob & Sea Depot Koko Delta State.

He pointed out that the drivers of the two trucks were polite in their responses and presented all the necessary documents to officers of the military who ignored the documents, rebuffed appeals and burnt the trucks.

“The drivers presented Way Bills, NUPENG receipts, and quality control documents. But the military men still insisted that they carried crude oil! They drove the two trucks away and burnt them between Ahoada and Elele in Rivers State, on Tuesday night.

“Without investigation, without reaching out to the refinery, where the drivers mentioned that they lifted the Black Oil, the soldiers burnt down the trucks, in less than five hours”, he added.

He said the Union has taken a decision to stop lifting products at its Port Harcourt zone, adding that the same decision to stop loading nationwide would be taken by Monday except damages incurred as a result of the high-handedness of the Military Task Force were addressed.

“Enough is enough about the high-handedness of our security agents. They should stop demonising our Union and persecuting our men who are doing their normal business. We expect that in this modern world, trained security agents should be able to identify black oil as against crude oil. We should not be at the receiving end of their ignorance”,, he stated.