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Fuel crisis looms

Fuel crisis looms

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…As NUPENG vows shutdown over marketers’ sack threa

Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has warned that it would shut down the oil sector if the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) sacks its members as threatened in a recent ultimatum to the Federal Government.

The marketers, last Tuesday, gave government a 14-day ultimatum to settle the N650 billion debt allegedly owed its members.

In a statement by its executive secretary, Olufemi Adewole, DAPPMAN said, if government failed to meet the deadline, it would direct its members to shut down all the depots the NNPC currently uses to store imported products as well as disengage their over 10,000 workers.

The marketers had said they had no other option to solve the problem of rising debt burden incurred by borrowing to pay staff than to immediately sack them.

However, NUPENG president, Igwe  Achese, addressing the press after the NUPENG Elders Stakeholders Meeting in Lagos at the weekend, said the union would protect its members from the present threats.

Achese noted that there was urgent need for government to call for dialogue with the marketers, because, if the issues were not promptly addressed now, NUPENG would be at the receiving end.

“The problem will not only affect workers, but tanker drivers, hence, if it happens, we will react to protect our members. If workers are sacked, the union will react accordingly,” he said.

The NUPENG president stated that government should wake up to the reality that NNPC alone cannot sustain petroleum supply in the country.

“We have always said it that, for fuel crisis to end in the country, our refineries must come back on stream. If we are importing, that should only be a stop-gap,” he said.

According to the NUPENG president, the union would give the federal government 100 per cent support to ensure that all the refineries get back to their full working capacity but government must ignore those that are calling for privatisation of the refineries, instead it should look for a way of upgrading the facilities. 

The labour leader also noted that modular refineries should be given more attention, stating that government should ensure that those who are licenced commence operation immediately.

On restructuring and state police, Achese said the union would support the federal government as state police will go a long way in curbing the security challenges facing the country.

He commended all the security agencies for their effort at curbing various security challenges, ranging from herdsmen attack, Boko Haram, kidnapping, armed robbery, but maintained that there is need to do more.

The NUPENG President expressing dismay on the state of the roads in the country tasked the federal government to urgently fix them to enable transportation of fuel across the country easy and safe.

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