01 April 2014, Lagos – Some oil marketers on Monday threatened to embark on industrial strike following the shutdown of Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company (NIPCO) by National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).
NUPENG shutdown the NIPCO facilities on March 24.
Mr Abidemi Agunbiade, Chairman, a concerned group of IPMAN, expressed worries over the looming fuel scarcity in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Agunbiade said that the shutdown of the NIPCO had affected over 1,000 marketers who had paid money to load petrol.
According to him, over 450 million litres of fuel imported to discharge into NIPCO depot are still on the high seas due to the shutdown of the company.
“About four vessels are on the high seas including those of the NNPC.
“The stranded vessels are paying demurrage of 15,000 dollars to 20,000 dollars on daily basis due to the shutdown of NIPCO by the leadership of NUPENG,’’ he said.
The concerned marketers said that the shut down had congested Apapa jetty with vessels that were ready to discharge products to NIPCO tank farms.
Agunbiade said that about 80 million litres of petrol had been shut at the depot.
He said that the depot dispensed over 20 per cent of total fuel demand of the nation.
Agunbiade said that all the retail outlets of IPMA would be shut down if NIPCO was not reopened by March 31.
“We are just being careful not to shut down our retail outlets nationwide because we control over 87 per cent retail outlets.
When the correspondent of NAN contacted Mr Isaac Eberare, National Ssecretary of NUPENG, he said “I am not in Lagos, I don’t know what is happening”.
“The NUPENG president is the only person that can answer the question on NIPCO’s closure,’’ he said.
A correspondent, who visited NIPCO on Monday, reports that marketers and workers of the company were still protesting the closure of the company and said that they were ready to commence operations.
NAN also reports that the situation in the depot has become tense.
Some tanker drivers said that they had exhausted all the money on them after staying in the depot for over eight days.
NUPENG Deputy Chairman, Alhaji Oladejo Ambali, who addressed the workers, said that the situation was fast assuming a dangerous dimension.
He promised to take the workers’ grievances to the national leadership of the union.