Fuel tanker drivers threaten strike in Abia

28 March 2012, Sweetcrude, ABA – The Abia State chapter of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) division of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have threatened to down tools if the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) fails to supply petroleum products to Aba depot.

Mr Simple Nwamkpa, spokesman for the group, told newsmen that the PPMC had failed to pump products to the depot in the last six years.

Nwamkpa, who is also chairman of Aba Depot Reactivation Committee, said PPMC had promised to pump products to the depot in the second week of March, but failed.

He said IPMAN and PTD were worried over PPMC several unfulfilled promises, even after it had carried out pressure test on the pipelines and certified them fit.

“The pressure test on the pipelines was carried out by PPMC and it recorded closed to 100 per cent success. Our patience has been over tasked because we no longer know what to tell our teeming members (is) the reasons for PPMC not pumping products to Aba depot ,” he said.

Nwamkpa maintained that the chapter had over 700 marketers who supplied petroleum products to the entire South East and beyond.

He stated that the unions had had series of meetings with PPMC both at its area office in Port Harcourt and the headquarters in Abuja.

Nwamkpa said that at one of the meetings in Abuja on February 15, both parties agreed, among others, that PPMC would do the final pressure test on the pipelines by first week of March.

“We agreed that petroleum products will be pumped to the depot by the second week of March. “Out of the three agreements, the pressure testing of the pipelines, which recorded about 100 per cent success, has been done. Now, this is the last week of March, PPMC is yet to pump products to Aba depot,” he said.
Nwamkpa further stated that IPMAN members and PTD would have withdrawn their services to the public on December 23, but for the timely intervention of the government of Abia State.
He appealed to the governors in the South East and other leaders to prevail on PPMC to supply petroleum products to the depot.
Meanwhile, youths in the communities hosting the pipelines on Tuesday protested the delay by PPMC to pump products to the depot.
Their spokesman, Mr Solomon Ohia, said at the depot site at Osisioma near Aba that over 130 youths from these communities were protecting the pipelines.
Efforts to obtain comments from the PPMC on the matter failed.

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