Lagos — The National Leadership of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has directed the withdrawal of services of Petroleum Tanker Drivers from Lagos State with effect from Monday, 10th August 2020 following the failure of various authorities in the State to address major issues that have severely caused pains and harrowing experiences of Petroleum Tanker Drivers in the state.
In a statement, the NUPENG National President, Comrade (Prince) Williams Akporeha,
disclosed that, the rank and file members of the Union are deeply pained, frustrated and agonized by these challenges being consistently faced by Petroleum Tanker Drivers in Lagos State and are left with no other option but to direct the withdrawal of their services in Lagos State until the government and other relevant stakeholders address critical challenges facing the drivers.
Akporeha said, it is sad and disheartening to note that there are several appeals and reports made to Lagos State Government and the Presidential Task Force for the decongestion of Apapa but all to no avail.
The NUPENG boss said that, extortion of money from Petroleum Tanker Drivers by various security agents is disheartening as well as inexplicable that security agents who are expected to ensure free-flow of traffic and protection of road users now use their uniforms and arms to intimidate, harass and extort money from them.
He noted that ‘this reprehensible conduct is taking a serious toll on the psychological, emotional and financial state of Petroleum Tanker Drivers and their capacity to effectively and efficiently deliver services to the nation’
He stressed that, the menace must stop and the leadership of these security operatives in Lagos State must go all out to call their men to order with immediate effect, as every one of them should be contented with their salaries and allowances rather than turning hapless Petroleum Tanker Drivers to money making machine.
‘We cannot afford to fold our arms while our members are being consistently and continually extorted, intimidated, harassed and victimized by different groups and segments in Lagos’ he fumed.
Akporeha lamented the menace of Containerized Trucks on the Apapa, Kirikiri and Beach Land axis of Lagos State and the collusion of government officials hindering petroleum tankers from loading activities at depots and tank farms.
He reiterated that, the persistent traffic gridlock and indiscriminate parking of containerized trucks on major Lagos roads and bridges leading to Apapa port, Kirikiri, Beach Land, Satellite Town and Ijegun are major setbacks bedeviling the smooth running of the operations of petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State.
He added that, MRS depot has been held captive for more than 3 months from discharging products to petroleum tanker drivers despite the availability of petroleum products stockpiled in their tank farm facilities.
He disclosed that for safety reasons, the drivers cannot continue to struggle with these containerized trucks in these corridors considering the flammable nature of the products they carry, adding that the drivers cannot afford to undermine safety standards, procedures and protocols in the course of our services.
This situation according to him, appears to have defied solution, considering government’s non intervention, lack of sensitivity over the years and collusion by those called upon by the Presidency to proffer solutions to the problem.
‘From Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, Ojuelegba Bridge, Iponri, Constain, Ikorodu road through Funsho Williams Avenue (formerly Western Avenue) to Ijora inward Apapa and Oshodi-Apapa Expressway through Mile 2 to Berger Yard inward Tincan Island, have been overwhelmed with indiscriminate parking of these articulated vehicles, aggravating the gridlock faced by petroleum tanker drivers that ply the roads daily to lift products’
He revealed that, the harassment and extortion by area boys and area god-fathers is really worrisome, as Lagos State which is known to be a mega city and centre of excellence has now become a safe haven for urchins who now see petroleum tanker drivers as soft targets, extorting money, assaulting and vandalizing their trucks in some instances, especially when some of the them show restraints in paying them illegal fees and levies.
‘Consequently, as a socially responsible organization, we have made wide consultations with various leadership organs of our Union and with other key stakeholders in the oil and gas industry and therefore resolved to embark on an indefinite strike beginning from 12 am, Monday, August 10, 2020 if there are no decisive and convincing actions from Lagos State Government to address these concerns and challenges’ he said.