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Petroleum Tanker Drivers Begin Strike

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The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has said its Petroleum Tanker Drivers have been mobilised to ensure no movement of petroleum tankers as their nationwide strike begins today.
Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, the South-West Chairman of NUPENG Lagos Council, made the assertion yesterday in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
According to Korodo, all the tanker drivers have abandoned their trucks in respect of the indefinite strike which will begin on Monday unless the Federal Government intervenes.
The chairman said the drivers were forced to down tools due to unresolved issues concerning their welfare, poor remuneration, insecurity and bad roads.
“The tanker drivers for the past three years have been appealing to the Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) to increase their salary but they refused on the ground that spare parts had increased.
“NARTO said that government has not increased their fares, so they will not increase their salary.
“Apart from this, most of the roads they ply are bad and this has resulted in accidents or damaging their trucks.
“The activities of the official of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps on the roads is not helping the matter,’’ Korodo said.
“The tanker drivers are forced to break the seal of their product on the pretext that they were carrying adulterated product.
“Most of these drivers are harassed by these officers, at times the tanker and the driver will be detained for close to a month,’’ he said.
Korodo also said that more than 2,000 staff of Capital Oil and Gas Ltd., were on the line due to their closure by the Federal Government due to some issues between the company and NNPC.
He said that the union wanted the government to resolve the matter so that the company would be opened and the staff and tanker drivers would resume duty.
The chairman, however, said that the strike would not affect activities in filling stations, depots or refineries across the nation.
Our correspondent reports that on March 31, the PTD branch of the NUPENG said they would begin a nationwide strike on April 3.
NUPENG’s President, Mr Igwe Achese, announced this in a communique in Lagos at the end of its Central Working Committee meeting held at the union’s secretariat in Yaba.
The communique said the strike would draw the attention of the Federal Government and other stakeholders to some unresolved issues bordering on the welfare of workers, bad roads, poor remuneration, insecurity and the alleged excesses of some security agencies.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has intervened to avert the strike action being planned by the Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD) section of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).
At the end of its Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting held at the union’s secretariat in Lagos on Friday, PTD had issued a notice to commence strike today, April 3.
NUPENG’s national President, Mr. Igwe Achese, who released the communiqué, said the strike would draw the attention of the federal government and other stakeholders to some unresolved issues bordering on the welfare of workers, such as bad roads, poor remuneration, insecurity and the alleged excesses of some security agencies.
But the Group General Manager in charge of Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu told our source yesterday that the Group Managing Director of the corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru had engaged the leadership of the union to avert the impending crisis.
Ughamadu disclosed that with Baru’s personal intervention, the issues would be resolved amicably.
“We are engaging them. Few days ago, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru was in touch with the leadership of the union. Hopefully, with his intervention, it will be resolved,” Ughamadu explained.
Initial efforts to reach Achese and the South West Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo to confirm the development were abortive as their mobile phones were switched off.
In their communiqué, NUPENG said: “The CWC-in-Session considers inhumane, the refusal of the National Association of Transport Owners (NARTO) to commence negotiation with the union for the renewal of the expired Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on the working conditions of our Tanker Driver members in the PTD branch, after several appeals and even an ultimatum”.
“The CWC-in-Session, therefore, resolves to give full backing to any industrial action the members in this sector might decide to take with effect from Monday, April 3, 2017. To avert the pains and discomfort the action might cause, the CWC-in-Session calls on the Federal Government to urgently intervene and apprehend the unfortunate situation, to enable NARTO meet its obligations to tanker drivers,’’ the communique added.
The communique also called on the National Assembly to urgently pass the Petroleum Industry Bill, in order to tackle all the issues of corruption plaguing the oil sector.
It also called for the commercialisation of the operations of the NNPC, as well as the turn-around-maintenance for the refineries, to increase local production and reduce the importation of petroleum products.
The communique commended the efforts of the federal government to encourage operators of illegal refineries to be integrated into the establishment of modular refineries.
The union also vowed to resist any attempt to increase the pump price of petrol. It also commended efforts of the government to shore up the Naira against the Dollar and the decline in the inflationary rate to 17.5 per cent.
However, South West Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo told The Tide correspondent yesterday that he was not aware of any “meaningful reach out” by the NNPC to the union.
“I have not received any signal from my superiors that there has been any meaningful reach out to us,” he said.
Korodo disclosed that the union had mobilised tanker drivers for Monday’s action, stressing that all fuel depots will be shut down. “We have mobilised our members because this thing has to do with their welfare,” he added.
He also stated that the union wants the federal government to intervene in the dispute between the NNPC and Capital Oil and Gas Limited.
“NNPC is saying that Capital Oil is indebted to it but Capital Oil has said from its own records, the NNPC is indebted to it. We want government to intervene to ensure that they do proper reconciliation because it is affecting our members. We have over 2,000 tanker drivers in Capital Oil and they have been declared redundant since the dispute started. Having been declared redundant, the drivers might be issued sack letters and we don’t want that to happen. That is why we want government to resolve the matter,” Korodo explained.

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Trans-Kalabari Road: Banigo, Stakeholders Condemn Abduction Of Expatriate

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Kalabari traditional rulers and stakeholders have condemned the recent abduction of an expatriate staff of Lubric Construction Company working on the Trans-Kalabari Road.
Speaking at a meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt, last Friday, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo said she was deeply pained by the unfortunate incident carried out by unknown miscreants.
According to the deputy governor, who said that the State Chief Executive Officer, Nyesom Wike, was desirous to bring more development projects to Kalabari Kingdom, regretted that this act was capable of discouraging him.
“I want to reiterate that our governor is very desirous to do more developmental projects in our communities, there are many more things he has in the card to do for us, and if we allow this ugly thing to surface, that attitude will discourage him”, the deputy governor noted.
Banigo, who said that perpetrators of the heinous crime did not drop from the sky, insisted that they were community people, and must be fished out and dealt with decisively, while calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the abductee.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, expressed regrets that a project as important as the Trans-Kalabari Road would be tampered with by persons who do not mean well for the Kalabari people.
“If their intention is to run down the good works of our dear governor, over a project which the Kalabari people have been yearning for over the years, then, I am sure God Almighty will not allow them to get away with this dastardly act of kidnapping one expatriate”, Alabraba stressed.
Alabraba further said, “It is important that we talk to ourselves and ensure that everything possible is done to ensure immediate release of the victim, and ensure that measures are put in place to forestall this type of thing in the future”.
Presenting a seven-point communique, Amanyanabo of Minama, King Iboroma Talbot Pokubo, who represented the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disreal Gbobo Bobmanuel, demanded for the immediate and unconditional release of the expatriate, and reassured Governor Wike of their unwavering support for the governor.

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Buhari Approves Incorporation Of NNPC, Appoints Board Members

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President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited be incorporated.
He also approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited with Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as chairman.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, was appointed chief executive officer.
This was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, saying that the president acted in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum Resources, has directed the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
“This is in consonance with Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the Minister of Finance on the nominal shares of the company.
“The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kolo Kyari, has, therefore, been directed to take necessary steps to ensure that the incorporation of the NNPC Limited is consistent with the provisions of the PIA 2021.
“Also, by the power vested in him under Section 59(2) of the PIA 2021, President Buhari has approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited, with effect from the date of incorporation of the company.
“Chairman of the board is Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, while Mele Kolo Kyari and Umar I. Ajiya are chief executive officer, and chief financial officer, respectively.
“Other board members are; Dr Tajudeen Umar (North-East); Mrs Lami O. Ahmed (North-Central); Mallam Mohammed Lawal (North-West); Senator Margaret Chuba Okadigbo (South-East), Barrister Constance Harry Marshal (South-South); and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South-West).”

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Reject Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request, SERAP Tells NASS

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila; to reject the fresh request by President Muhammadu Buhari, to borrow $4billion and €710million.
SERAP said if such request must be granted, the Federal Government should publish details of spending of all loans obtained since May 29, 2015.
The group also expressed fear that if the fresh request is granted, it may take Nigeria’s to over N35trillion.
Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 and €710million, on the grounds of “emerging needs.”
The request was contained in a letter dated August 24, 2021.
In an open letter dated September 18, 2021, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation expressed “concerns about the growing debt crisis, the lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of loans that have been obtained, and the perceived unwillingness or inability of the National Assembly to vigorously exercise its constitutional duties to check the apparently indiscriminate borrowing by the government.”
SERAP said, “The National Assembly should not allow the government to accumulate unsustainable levels of debt, and use the country’s scarce resources for staggering and crippling debt service payments rather than for improved access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic public services and human rights.
“The country’s public debt has mushroomed with no end in sight. The growing national debt is clearly not sustainable. There has been no serious attempt by the government to cut the cost of governance. The leadership of the National Assembly ought to stand up for Nigerians by asserting the body’s constitutional powers to ensure limits on national debt and deficits.
“Should the National Assembly and its leadership fail to rein in government borrowing, and to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of public loans, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly to discharge its constitutional duties.
“SERAP notes that if approved, the country’s debts will exceed N35trillion. The government is also reportedly pushing the maturity of currently-secured loans to between 10 and 30 years. N11.679trillion is reportedly committed into debt servicing, while only N8.31trillion was expended on capital/development expenditure between 2015 and 2020.
“Ensuring transparency and accountability in the spending of loans by the government and cutting the cost of governance would address the onerous debt servicing, and improve the ability of the government to meet the country’s international obligations to use maximum available resources to ensure the enjoyment of basic economic and social rights, such as quality healthcare and education”, SERAP added.

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