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NUPENG orders tankers to suspend services in Lagos

Laments extortion of money, menace of containerized trucks, harassment and extortion by area boys and area god-fathers; Crisis looms

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A serious crisis is looming in Lagos State as the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has ordered tanker drivers to suspend services in the state effective from Monday.

NUPENG stated this in a press release signed by the National President, Comrade (Prince) Williams Eniredonana Akporeha, and the General Secretary, Comrade Olawale Afolabi, on Friday.

Th Union lamented extortion of money, menace of containerized trucks and harassment and extortion by area boys and area god-fathers.

The statement issued on Friday was titled ‘NUPENG leadership directs withdrawal of services by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State with effect from Monday, August 10, 2020.

NUPENG said its decision was hinged on the failure of various authorities in the state to address infrastructural challenges facing it in the state.

The statement reads in part: “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.”

It raised three major issues that it said have severely caused petroleum tanker drivers pains and harrowing experiences in the state for several months now.

1. Extortion of money from Petroleum Tanker Drivers by various security agents

“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.

“Everyone of them should be contented with their salaries and allowances rather than turning hapless Petroleum Tanker Drivers to money making machine.

2. Menace of Containerized Trucks at Apapa, Kirikiri and Beach Land axis of Lagos State and collusion of government officials hindering Petroleum Tankers from loading activities at depots and tank farms:

“Persistent traffic gridlock and indiscriminate parking of containerized trucks on major Lagos roads and bridges leading to Apapa port, Kirikiri, Beach Land, Satellite Town, Ijegun, are another major setbacks bedeviling the smooth running of the operations of Petroleum Tanker Drivers in Lagos State.

“As at today, MRS depot has been held captive for more than 3 months from discharging products to Petroleum Tanker Drivers despite heavy availability of Petroleum products stockpiled in their tank farm facilities.

“For safety reasons, Petroleum Tanker Drivers cannot continue to struggle with these containerized 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 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.

“From Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, Ojuelegba Bridge, Iponri, Constain roads, the situation is the same.

“Ikorodu road through Funsho Williams Avenue (formerly Western Avenue) to Ijora inward Apapa and Oshodi-Apapa Expressway through Mile 2 to Berger Yard inward Tincan Island, have been overwhelmed with indiscriminate parking of these articulated vehicles, aggravating the gridlock faced by Petroleum Tanker Drivers that ply the roads daily to lift products.

“For several months now, the Mile 2-Apapa Expressway (formerly Malu Road, now Mobil Road) have been witnessing a terrible traffic gridlock leaving Petroleum Tanker Drivers stranded and helpless.

3. Harrassment and extortion by Area Boys and Area god-fathers:

“It’s really worrisome that Lagos State which is known to be a mega city and centre of excellence has now become a safe haven for area boys and area god-fathers who now see Petroleum Tanker Drivers as soft targets, extorting money from them everyday, assaulting them and vandalising their trucks in some instances, especially when some of the Tanker Drivers show restraints in paying them illegal fees and levies.

“Petroleum Tanker Drivers now battle with both Area Boys and Area God-fathers amidst deplorable state of the roads in Lagos State, and this is really causing PTD lots of havoc on a daily basis, a distance of just about 10 kilometres for example, now takes seven to eight hours of manoeuvres and meandering by petrol tankers, many of which break down in the process, upturning their contents, killing PTD members and endangering the lives of several other Nigerians who traverse the roads. Without sounding immodest, further delay in their repairs portends greater danger to the citizenry.

“Tanker Drivers whose activities cut across Oguntedo, old Ojo road, Ijegun-Egba, Abule Ado and its environs in Satellite town, Oriade Local government Area, and Apapa corridor of Lagos state have continued to work in fears, following incessant attacks by members of various notorious groups who have developed penchant for extorting money forcefully from Tanker Drivers.

“They are known for operating unchallenged and freely around Apapa, Kirikiri, Mile 2, Maza-Maza and Abule-Ado, near Trade Fair flank etc.

“Consequently, as a socially responsible organization, 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.”

NUPENG said it cannot afford to fold its arms while its members are being consistently and continually extorted, intimidated, harassed and victimized by different groups and segments in Lagos.

The Union, therefore, ordered tanker drivers to suspend services in the state until its complaints are addressed.

Our correspondent reported that there is currently serious apprehension in the state over the directive.

Panic buying of petroleum products has been reported across the state over the looming crisis.

Long queues have been sighted in some fuel stations while some stations are entirely shut adding to the apprehension.

Lagos State Government is yet to respond to the ultimatum.

ElombahNews, however, gathered that relevant authorities are holding meeting with NUPENG leadership to avert the crisis.

READ ALSO: $30b loan: NUPENG, PENGASSAN resist use of refineries as collateral

About NUPENG

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) is one of the 46 industrial unions formerly affiliated to the Nigeria Labour Congress.

It was formally registered as a Trade Union on 15th August, 1978 but held its inaugural conference On 2nd November 1977 at the cultural center Benin City, Edo State.

NUPENG is currently affiliated to the United Labour Congress of Nigeria (ULC).

The Union is an affiliate of Industri-All Global Union with Headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland.

Its president is currently the chairperson of Industri-All Global Union Nigeria chapter.

The Union is divided into four zones for easy administration and operations namely Lagos Zone, Warri Zone, Port Harcourt Zone and Kaduna Zone with Zonal offices.

There are sub-zonal offices at Eket, in Akwa Ibom State, Ibadan in Oyo State and a Liaison office at Abuja.


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