Tanker drivers shelve strike, as Lagos govt agrees to tackle security, 'area boys' challenges

By The Rainbow
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The Rainbow
Fuel tanker drivers who had planned to withdraw their services in Lagos State from Monday have shelved their action following an agreement on their demands with the state government.

The drivers under the umbrella of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers had last week announced they would withdraw their services from Lagos roads following cases of wanton extortion by officials and harassment of their members by area boys.

But after a meeting on Monday Monday between its leadership and representatives of the state government, the two parties reached agreements on how to ameliorate their plights.

A communique jointly signed by the Commissioner of Energy and Mineral Resources, Olalere Odusote, and the Deputy National President of NUPENG, Solomon Kilanko, the two parties announced agreement on seven points.

Both parties agreed that the state government would meet with the heads of all security agencies and secure their commitment to ensuring the free passage of petroleum products vehicles given their importance to the economy.

They are to address the specific concerns of the drivers such as security agencies, 'area boys', ad-hoc levies, bad roads, overloading, the timing of movement, and coordination, formed the critical issues discussed at the meeting.

They also agreed to ask relevant government agencies to tackle the menace of 'area boys' and establish a dedicated phone number within the next week, to ensure that petroleum products transporters have prompt access to security agencies.

The meeting resolved to investigate extra-ordinary levies by a particular local government and ask local government authorities to only collect legally due levies.

On the issue of bad roads, the state government said it would continue to relate with all road users in the planning and execution of road works in the state.

NUPENG, on its part, promised to ensure all tankers were loaded within the capacities provided for in the regulation and communicated by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

“Lagos State will, within the next one week, review the restriction of the timing of movement of the petroleum tankers and advise a resolution to ease their access to the tank farms. Union also notes that the ongoing road works are a temporary inhibitor of movement.

“Lagos State government will immediately set up a standing committee to relate with the union on an ongoing basis to address any issues as they arise,” the statement read.