09 December 2019, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN and the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Sunday, intervened into the ongoing disagreement between the Federal Government and oil marketers, over the outstanding fuel subsidy claims and called for a speedy resolution of the crisis.
Addressing newsmen after meeting with officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and its subsidiary, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketing Association, DAPPMA, the oil workers also assured that they would ensure that Nigerians were not thrown into untold sufferings.
National President of PENGASSAN, Comrade Francis Johnson, said the association had intervened in the crisis to protect the interest of its members, as well as that of the country.
He said, “PENGASSAN, as one of the major stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, we are concerned. We are also looking at it that the year is coming to an end; they are also talking about 2019 politics and elections. We do not want to do anything to overheat the polity and make Nigerians go through a lot of stress.
“For us, we have said, and we are aware that there have been a series of meeting to resolve the issue. We stand by that; and we appeal to both government and the oil marketers to look at the larger interest of Nigeria and do what is needful for Nigeria to grow from strength to strength.
“I believe in the commitment and sincerity of both parties to reach an amicable solution to the issue. I believe that both parties would allow the larger interest of Nigeria to supersede. I advise them to fast-track every process to resolve this issue and make sure they keep to the terms of the agreement reached.
Johnson expressed concerns that if not resolved amicably, the subsidy debt issue might lead to the sack of its members by the oil marketers, however, he cautioned its members against joining any strike without hearing from the leadership of the unions.
He said, “For us, our members should note that until they hear from the association and NUPENG, everybody should continue to do their work. They must be at their duty post, doing their allocated hours of work and do the needful as required from them.
“I also believe that both marketers, the NNPC and others would resolve it. Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD) Branch of NUPENG, would also ensure that tankers are working. Our members at PPPRA, PEF, PPMC, DPR, would be on duty. They would always listen to hear from us. If anybody goes against our directive, there are consequences; there are procedures for sanctions.”
Also speaking, National President of NUPENG, Comrade William Akporeha, assured Nigerians that there would be unhindered distribution of petroleum products during the Yuletide, as all its members would not be embarking on any strike.
He said, “This regime of NUPENG believes in dialogue. Until we are pushed to the wall, we do not take strike as the first option. So far, between now and December ending, I can assure Nigerians that there won’t be a shortage of petroleum products in our streets.
“We agreed that the oil marketers have legitimate claims and demands. However, we are also happy too that the Federal Government is at this moment engaging them on how to resolve all the issues at stake.
“As a stakeholder, we are also intervening in our own right, because we are also affected, as our members there are being owed salaries. Some of them are sitting at home as we speak, all because of this impasse.
“However, we are also engaging both the government and oil marketers and so far, the feelers from the government is very encouraging, because we have been told that between now and Friday, this issue would be settled with the first payment of the agreement.”
On his part, National Chairman of PTD, Comrade Salimon Oladiti, said, “We are trying to mediate in the crisis between the Federal Government and the oil marketers. We are major players in the distribution of petroleum products, but at the same time, we have gotten assurances from the Federal Government that between now and Friday, December 14, 2018, part of the money owed the oil marketers, about 50 percent of the money would be paid to them.
“We do not want to issue threats, but we are losing our members; because if these marketers carry out their threats, we are going to be seriously affected. At the same time, this is our country, we don’t have another country we can call our own. We have two major issues on the ground now, the Christmas holidays and the forthcoming elections next year, if the Federal Government allows this threat by the marketers, it would bring about the same thing we experienced last year. We do not want such to reoccur.”