Tanker drivers have been directed to withdraw their services in Lagos as from Monday. The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) gave the directive in a statement on Friday in which Williams Akporeha, national president of the union, said the it was as a result of the “failure of the state government to address some of its grievances”.
The planned industrial action may result to scarcity of fuel in the commercial city.
Read the statement: “The entire rank and file members of the union are deeply pained, frustrated and agonised by the barrage of these challenges being consistently faced by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State and are left with no other option but to direct the withdrawal of their services in Lagos State until the Lagos State Government and other relevant stakeholders address these critical challenges.
“It is sad and disheartening to note here that we had made several appeals and reports to the Lagos State Government and the Presidential Task Force for the decongestion of Apapa on these challenges but all to no avail.
“We resolved to embark on an indefinite strike beginning from 12 am, Monday, August 10, 2020 if there are no decisive and convincing actions from the Lagos State Government to address these concerns and challenges”.
The union listed its challenges to include extortion by security agents, traffic gridlocks hindering the drivers’ movements as well as harassment by hoodlums across the state.
Informed the statement: “It is really disturbing and as well inexplicable that security agents who are expected to ensure free-flow of traffic and protection of road users now use their uniforms and arms to intimidate, harass and extort money from Petroleum Tanker Drivers”.
“This reprehensible conduct is taking serious tolls on the psychological, emotional, and financial state of Petroleum Tanker Drivers and their capacity to effectively and efficiently deliver services to the nation.
“This menace must stop and the leadership of these security operatives in Lagos State must go all out to call their men to order with immediate effect. Every one of them should be content with their salaries and allowances rather than turning hapless Petroleum Tanker Drivers to money-making machines.
“Persistent traffic gridlock and indiscriminate parking of containerised trucks on major Lagos roads and bridges leading to Apapa port, Kirikiri, Beach Land, Satellite Town, Ijegun, are another major setback bedeviling the smooth running of the operations of Petroleum Tanker Drivers in Lagos State.
“For safety reasons, Petroleum Tanker Drivers cannot continue to struggle with these containerised trucks in these corridors considering the inflammable nature of the products our members carry and we cannot afford to undermine safety standards, procedures, and protocols in the course of our services.
“This is a situation that appears to have defied solution, considering the government’s non-intervention, lack of sensitivity over the years and collusion by those called upon by the Presidency to proffer solutions to the problem”.
NUPENG also said Lagos had become a “safe haven for area boys and area god-fathers who now see Petroleum Tanker Drivers as soft targets”.
It said petrol tanker drivers battle with “both Area Boys and Area God-fathers” amid the bad roads in the state, adding that a distance of about 10 kilometres “now takes seven to eight hours of maneuvers and meandering by petrol tankers,” during which they are endangered.
Said the union: “Without sounding immodest, further delay in their repairs portends greater danger to the citizenry.
“Consequently, as a socially responsible organisation, we have made wide consultations with various leadership organs of our Union and with other key stakeholders in the oil and gas industry and therefore resolved to embark on an indefinite strike beginning from 12 am, Monday, August 10, 2020, if there are no decisive and convincing actions from Lagos State Government to address these concerns and challenges”.