The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), has said it has no plans to embark on strike action as is being speculated.
The speculation was heightened by the resurface of fuel queues as a result of scarcity of petroleum products especially premium motor spirit (Petrol) in filling stations in Abuja and other major cities across the country. LEADERSHIP investigations reveals that most petrol stations in Abuja were shut down, while large queues were witnessed at the few ones still dispensing the commodity.
Responding to questions about the authenticity of speculation that the return of queues in Abuja may be due to a proposed strike by members of PENGASSAN, the public relations manager of the Union, Aniete Udoh, told our reporter that he is not aware of such intent. “Before the Union can go on strike for any reason, the National Executive Council (NEC) must meet and I am not aware of any of such meeting in recent time. So I can say authoritatively that there is no prospect of strike on our side,” he told our reporter in a telephone chat.
He however explained that the scarcity being experienced in Abuja and its environs may not be unconnected with the protest and looting in some parts of the country. Adding that tanker owners may have withdrawn their vehicles from
the roads for fear of vandalism.
Similarly, a member of the Nigeria Association of Tanker Owners (NATO) who does not want his name in print told our reporter that they have withdrawn their tankers from operations for now stressing that nobody wants to loss in or her
investment. “The rate at which this looters are going about unhindered, what is the guarantee that if you put your tanker on the road they will not set it ablaze claiming it is government property? I cannot take the risk of going to lift fuel from a depot now when I am not sure of the safety of my tanker and the driver. We may have to wait until the situation returns to normal before we can go back into the business of letting fuel.”
This is coming on the heels of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) explanation earlier in the week that the reappearance of queues in petrol stations across the country is due to protest against police brutality, especially the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, of the Nigeria Police.
Reacting on the queues, group general manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Dr Kennie Obateru, cautioned motorists against panic buying, stating that the corporation currently has over two billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, in stock. He explained that the current fuel stock is enough to last the country 60 days, adding that fuel supply is expected to nor- malise within the next couple of days.
According to him, “The disruptions/curtailment of free flow of vehicular movement occasioned by the endSARS protests and the attendant curfews and vandalism, particularly in Lagos, must have affected petroleum products supply. “With the easing of the curfews/restriction of movement by various state governors, normalcy is expected to return to the petroleum products supply chain in the next couple of days. There is no need for panic-buying, rest assured that the NNPC has over two billion litres of premium motor spirit (petrol) in stock to guarantee steady supply and at least 60 -day-product supply sufficiency to the entire country.”
Meanwhile, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) had at the weekend warned of a looming petroleum scarcity in the country, following attacks on fuel tankers and the disruption of depot operations across the country by hoodlums who had hijacked the #EndSARS protests. This disclosure was made by the chairman of IPMAN in Rivers State, Dr Joseph Obele, while speaking on a live radio programme in Port Harcourt.
Obele disclosed that about 10 petroleum tankers belonging to its members were attacked and destroyed across the country by these hoodlums during the protests, although he noted that there had been no fatalities. He said the scarcity of petroleum products could be inevitable if the situation failed to improve before filling stations exhausted their stocks.