Threats by oil workers union under the aegis of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) to shut down the sector may affect the already troubled supply and distribution of petrol across cities in the country, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) warned on Friday.
The NNPC therefore begged the leadership of the union to reconsider the 15-day industrial action ultimatum it reportedly issued the federal government over what it described as lingering labour related issues in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, according to THISDAY, made this appeal to the union in Abuja, where vehicular queues for petrol have resurfaced at service stations across the city.
A statement from the Group General Manager, Public Affairs of the corporation, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, quoted Baru, to have expressed concern over the possible effects of the ultimatum on petroleum products supply and distribution chain in the country.
Baru stated that the NUPENG’s threat could compound the current hiccups over which he said concerted efforts were being taken to bring under control.
He appealed to the union leadership to exercise patience to enable government address the issues they raised.
NUPENG had in a January 31, statement given a 15-day ultimatum to government over six labour issues between some of its members and their respective companies.
Baru however counseled that NUPENG should strive to maintain the harmonious industrial relations he said had brought about stability in the industry, reminding its leadership of how critical the petroleum sector was to the nation’s economy.
Similarly, the NNPC statement stated that the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) Branch of NUPENG had assured the corporation of its neutrality in the planned strike action.
NNPC said that PTD Chairman, Otunba Oladiti Salman, spoke with Ughamadu, and assured him that the purported ultimatum to government by NUPENG over the state of some roads in the country was a ruse.
Salman, according to the statement said PTD strongly disowned the statement which has been trending in the social media, saying the misinformation was a calculated attempt by mischief makers to cause panic in the country.
The PTD chairman disclosed that his union was on the same page with government, having had a parley on Thursday in Abuja with the Minister of Works, Housing and Power, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, where he noted comprehensive reports of on-going repairs and reconstructions of damaged highways were discussed.
Salman, also explained that at the meeting, the union was reassured by the comprehensive reports of all the on-going repairs and reconstruction of the damaged highways in parts of the country, in addition to the promise of commencement of palliative works on them. He informed that PTD would continue to champion the interests of its members always.
Meanwhile, THISDAY observed that queues for petrol had returned to service stations in the city, with stations in Wuse 2, Maitama, Kubwa Expressway, Asokoro, Garki, and Utako areas of the city heavily packed with vehicles waiting to buy.
At the Conoil and Total stations opposite the corporate headquarters of the NNPC, queues were as long as they were in December 2017, when the situation was extremely biting. The same situation was observed along the Kubwa Expressway where NNPC Retail station and other stations were equally filled with vehicles.
The situation was not different at other stations in Utako and Maitama where THISDAY also visited to observe the trend.