Nigeria: Motorists give NIPCO ultimatum to revert to old gas price

*NIPCO gas.

*NIPCO gas.

16 August 2016, Lagos — Aggrieved motorists in Edo State, who use Compressed Natural Gas, CNG, to power their vehicles, have given NIPCO Plc a 21-day ultimatum to revert to the old price of the product or they would switch over to petrol.

The motorists had shut down NIPCO’s seven CNG Filling Stations in Benin after the company increased the gas price from N55 per standard cubic meter to N95 per standard cubic meter for commercial vehicles.

For private cars, the company had also increased the gas price from N80 per standard cubic meter to N120 per standard cubic meter.

The motorists, who had shut down the company’s seven stations in Benin for several days, accused the company of sabotaging the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to encourage the use of gas as vehicular fuel.

The motorists at the weekend gave NIPCO a 21-day ultimatum to revert to the old price or they would switch over to petrol as earlier advised by the company.

One of the motorists, who spoke accused the company of removing the posters containing their demands, which they posted on the company’s seven stations in Benin.

They lured us with incentives to convert to gas and after we converted to gas, they increased the price and asked us to go to hell. We won’t go to hell but we won’t use the gas. No matter, what it will cost us, we will switch over back to petrol, unless they revert to the old price which was the basis of the contract we entered with them to use gas,” he said.

As part of the moves to sensitise all the users of CNG, some of the motorists, who negotiated with the company on behalf of others, have issued a four-point position showing that at the expiration of the 21 days, they would embark on: “road show protest around the streets with black hat on every vehicle using gas in Benin; operation take your kit and give me my money; gas always damage our engine and boot; prepare for the next protest ahead.”

NIPCO and the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), a subsidiary of the NNPC had formed Green Gas Limited (GGL), a joint venture, which built CNG Filling Stations to sell gas to motorists.

When contacted on the development, NIPCO’s Manager in charge of the CNG Stations, Mr. Stephen Anyanwu told THISDAY that he was not competent to speak on the matter.

NIPCO and the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), a subsidiary of the NNPC had formed Green Gas Limited (GGL), a joint venture, which built CNG Filling Stations to sell gas to motorists.

NIPCO’s Head of Human Resources, who had negotiated with the motorists, Mr. John Okpeku had disclosed that motorists were free to switch over to petrol if they did not want to use gas to fuel their vehicles because of the increase in price.

Okpeku, who also blamed the federal government for the increase in gas price, had also noted that the company did not negotiate with the motorists to use gas as an association but on their individual basis.

“When government increased the price of gas, we had to reflect it. When we increased the price, they shut us down for four days but it is not our making,” Okpeku had added.

“We did not negotiate with them as a union when they wanted to convert to CNG. It was based on individual negotiation and if they no longer want to use gas, they can go back to PMS (petrol),” Okpeku disclosed.

*Ejiofor Alike – Thisday

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