NUPENG strike: Fuel scarcity hits Abuja, Minna residents

By The Citizen

Following the commencement of a three-day warning strike by the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), long queues of motorists resurfaced in most petrol filling stations in the Federal Capital Territory and Minna, Niger State capital, on Monday.

The union said it plans to embark on an indefinite industrial action if its demands are not met by Wednesday when the current warning strike is scheduled to end.

Many petrol filling stations in Abuja and Minna refused to sell petrol to stranded motorists and gave no reason for their action, while motorists besieged the few filling stations that opened for business.

In Lagos, the effect of the strike was not felt on Monday as many filling stations sold the product, but marketers said the situation might change on Tuesday (today) or the day after if the demands of NUPENG were not met.

However, the Secretary-General, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, said the strike might lead to slight scarcity in Lagos if people embarked on panic buying of petrol from Tuesday.

While motorists decried the impact of the strike on business activities in the FCT, those who spoke with one of our correspondents expressed diverse views as to why NUPENG always resorted to industrial action as a way of pressing home its demands.

It was gathered that the National President, NUPENG, Mr. Achese Igwe  had ordered workers to stop loading products at the depots.

He said the strike became necessary following outstanding labour dispute between it and some major oil companies in the country.

Igwe had said on Sunday, 'We are going on strike from tomorrow (Monday). We issued an ultimatum and since then, there has not been any improvement. We had wanted to embark on this strike earlier but we shifted it till Monday.

'We want to see a serious commitment on the side of government on this issue.'

He said the strike was also to protest the refusal of Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners to implement the signed collective bargaining agreement with the petroleum tanker drivers.