04 April 2014, Abuja — Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, yesterday in Abuja, warned members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, against shutting down petrol stations, thereby further unleashing hardship and pains on Nigerians for purely personal aggrandisement.
NLC in a statement asked IPMAN not to make members enemies of the Nigerian people by compounding the fuel scarcity Nigerians had been going through by their proposed action under the pretext of a strike, because it was uncalled for and not tenable.
NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar, in a statement yesterday, said “there have been media reports of an impending strike by members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, under the pretence that members of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, are on strike at the Nigeria Independent Petroleum Company, NIPCO, a company owned by IPMAN.
While it is not true that NUPENG members at NIPCO are on strike, the issues in contention at NIPCO are basically about an attempt to fiddle with internal democracy within the leadership of IPMAN resulting in the refusal of the outgoing President to accept to leave office after the expiration of his tenure.
“The second issue is the refusal by members of NUPENG at NIPCO to accept the continued payment of petroleum subsidy to members of IPMAN who do not supply any petroleum product anywhere in Nigeria.
The genuine concern by members of NUPENG against those who believe they can continue to shortchange the Nigerian people by fraudulently receiving subsidies for the supply of petroleum products even when they supply nothing cannot be considered a strike and must not be used as reasons to advance personal interests by some so called petroleum marketers who survive only by circumventing our laws, taking advantage of a system that has been a conduit for corruption.
“The marketers have absolutely no reasons to close down fuel stations as there are no issues of national interests in dispute.
Indeed, there are no issues in dispute, if any it is the determination of members of NUPENG to fight corruption which has become extremely pervasive at NIPCO, whose facilities are used by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to store and distribute petroleum products across the country.
No marketer, hiding under personal interests should be allowed to further deepen the sufferings of consumers through the unwarranted closure of fuel stations anywhere in the country.
For months running, we have lost several hundreds of man-hours as a result of non availability or scarcity of petroleum products, especially petrol or Premium Motor Spirit.
“We urge the authorities, particularly the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, to take immediate measures to ensure the threat by the marketers to close down petrol stations is nipped.
They cannot reduce the impact and essence of industrial strikes by claiming that their action is an industrial strike as strikes are not declared to promote personal interests and advance corrupt practices.
Petroleum marketers should not make themselves an enemy of the Nigerian people by unleashing further hardships through their proposed action under the pretext of a strike. Strike actions should not be so cheaply abused.”
*Victor Ahiuma-Young – Vanguard