Long fuel queues have refused to disappear from major cities across the country despite assurance by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources,Dr Ibe Kachikwu to end the 10-day long fuel scarcity.
This is even as the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) plans to embark on a strike today.
Kachikwu assured the National Economic Council (NEC) last Thursday that fuel shortage would end in 48 hours.
The NEC, which comprises governors and some ministers, is chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
PENGASSAN said its members would go on strike after the failure of a truce between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Neconde Energy Limited with its members.
A statement by the spokesperson of PENGASSAN, Fortune Obi, confirmed that the meeting ended in a stalemate.
PENGASSAN accused Neconde of anti-workers activities against its members.
However, investigations by our source, yesterday across the country show that the fuel scarcity is far from over.
In Abuja, long queues were seen by our reporters along Kubwa Expressway, Central Area and other parts of the Federal Capital Territory. Many filling stations in other parts of the city were not dispensing the product when our source checked, yesterday.
Our correspondent in Markudi, Benue State reports that motorists were worried over the continued scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) which had persisted in the state for over a week.
A respondent, Mr. Monday Adah, said that it was disheartening that despite the hike in price of PMS, the trend of obtaining the product by long queues at festive periods had not changed.
Adah noted that he queued for over four hours to fill his car tank at a filling station along Ankpa Road with black marketers giving between N500 and N1000 to petrol attendants in order to boycott queues and buy in big jerry cans.
Mrs Edward Joyce complained that the development would likely force her to cancel her planned trip to her village for the Christmas celebration by next week.
Several petrol stations including the NNPC Mega Station located along Makurdi-Otukpo Federal Highway, Rainoil, Bolek, and AP, had long queues of vehicles waiting to take their turns at the pumps.
In Jos, Plateau State, our correspondent, who went to some filling stations, gathered that the situation is just as bad.
A motorist, John Davou, who spoke to our correspondent at the NNPC Mega filling station by Secretariat Junction, said he had been on queue for over two hours and was yet to get fuel.
He said most stations were selling fuel at between N145-N150 per litre, but that the problem was the time spent on queue.
In Kano, our correspondent observed that although some filling stations got supply of the product on Friday, most of the stations refused to operate yesterday.
The few filling stations that operated include A.A. Rano at Hadejia Road/Eastern Bypass roundabout, NNPC Mega Station, Audu Manager along Maiduguri Road and Conoil on Murtala Muhammed Way.
A motorist, Muhammad Isah, who spoke to our correspondent, yesterday at Conoil filling station said he had spent three hours in the queue and could not fill his tank.
Many of the filling stations in Kaduna yesterday kept their premises shut with only a few selling fuel to intending buyers.
However, in Rivers State the fuel situation seems not to be too bad as there are supplies in many filling stations in Port Harcourt.
Checks carried out by our correspondent showed that many filling stations had fuel but sold between N160 and N170 per litre, in Port Harcourt and its environs.
A motorist, Cyprian Oko said, “There is availability of fuel in all the filling stations but we are worried about the hike in price of the product.”
There was no visible fuel scarcity in Lagos metropolis as at Saturday evening as majority of filling stations visited were dispensing fuel without queues.
Normalcy has since returned to Lagos a week ago after two days of scarcity.
Lagos zonal chairman of NUPENG, Alhaji Nujeemdeen Korodo had told our correspondent that his members had commenced 24-hours fuel loading to ease supplies in Lagos area and other parts of the country.
Meanwhile, Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has accused the federal government of deliberately causing the current scarcity of fuel in the country to justify the planned increment of petrol pump price from N145 to N185 per litre.
The governor, also accused the federal government of insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians, and that “petrol is scarce across the country because the federal government deliberately reduced supply since it is only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that is importing the product.”
Governor Fayose’s Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, quoted him as saying in a release issued yesterday, that “allowing fuel scarcity to persist for over two weeks when Nigerians are preparing to celebrate Christmas and New Year is the height of wickedness on the part of the All Progressives Congress (APC) federal government.
“Funny enough, instead of directing its anger at President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the Minister of Petroleum, on December 7, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) chose to give the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu seven days ultimatum to end the fuel scarcity. Today is December 17, exactly ten days after the misplaced ultimatum was given, the situation has even got worse.”
He said “by the time the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) goes on strike as threatened the whole country will be shut down and one wonders what will become of Nigerians that desire to move around during the festive season.”
Governor Fayose, who said it was necessary for the federal government to tell Nigerians the truth about the situation of fuel supply in the country, noted that it was the restriction of supply of petrol to NNPC alone that has put Nigerians into hardship.
He said, “It is only the NNPC that is bringing products in; and the result is the scarcity being experienced now. The thinking is that by the time the scarcity persists for like one month, with Nigerians already buying at N200 per litre, the people will jump at it if petrol is increased from N145 to N185 per litre.
In another development, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) is set to embark on indefinite strike beginning from today, following a stalemate in the peace meeting the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr Emmanuel Kachikwu, brokered between the union and Neconde Energy Limited.
It would be recalled that both PENGASSAN and Neconde have been embroiled in crisis over allegation of anti-labour practices, including unlawful sacking of workers without adequate payment of their entitlements.
PENGASSAN, the umbrella body of senior workers in the oil and gas sector, alleged that the management of Neconde wrongly terminated the employment of some of its workers, and threatened to go on strike by December 18, 2017, if the sacked workers were not recalled within 72 hours.
The matter caused Kachikwu to initiate a meeting between the two warring bodies in Abuja, last week, but the meeting ended in a deadlock, last Friday.
In a release signed by PENGASSAN Public Relations Office, Fortune Obi, and made available to newsmen, last Friday, PENGASSAN said it would commence the proposed industrial action, today.
Obi said: “Following the failure of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, to settle the rift between this body (PENGASSAN) and Neconde, the management of PENGASSAN has agreed to start the strike on Monday night (December 18th, 2017).
“Prior to the strike, PENGASSAN will hold an emergency Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Monday morning, which will be followed with announcement of strike on the night of Monday.’’
The union said it has put its workers across the country on standby for the strike, adding that nothing whatsoever would stop the body from starting the strike by midnight, today.
PENGASSAN’s Lagos Zonal Chairman, Abel Agarin, had in a communiqué said it would not tolerate any act of victimization against any of its members.
He said the union’s position was that the termination of employment of some workers by Neconde was unlawful, as it was not in line with equity, good conscience and industrial relations best practices and extant labour laws.
PH Law School Campus’ll Be Best, Chiroma Confirms
Director General, Nigerian Law School, Prof Isa Hayatu Chiroma, has expressed optimism that the new Port Harcourt campus of the institution would be the best in the country.
Chiroma made the assertion when he paid a working visit to inspect ongoing civil construction work at the Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The director general was accompanied the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to assess progress of work at both the Nabo Graham Douglas Campus, Rumueme and staff quarters at New Government Residential Area, Port Harcourt.
He expressed gratitude to the state government for the intervention to build and deliver the Port Harcourt campus in order to help address the challenge of inadequate lecture and accommodation space for the ever-increasing number of students seeking to acquire vocational legal training at the current campuses of the Nigerian Law School in the country.
“The last time we were here was when the ground-breaking ceremony took place, and today, there is massive construction going on, and there is progress. I want to thank the governor and the good people of Rivers State for this progress.”
Chiroma, who observed that the teeming rainy season in Rivers State has slowed down the pace of work, noted that the amazing aspect of the project is that the quality of materials used for the raft foundation at the Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas campus is world class.
“The kind of materials used with what we have seen on ground, it is unimaginable, it is excellent. I can assure you that the problem we will be having is about our students, who will prefer to be posted to this place with what I have seen.
“That is the battle we are going to be faced with. But, I can assure you that all our Law School Campus are the same, but with the development going on here, it is going to be a problem for us to decide who comes to Port Harcourt. From what I have seen it is going to be the best.”
Facilities under construction at the Port Harcourt campus will comprise 14 structures, including 1,500-capacity classroom blocks, hostel blocks, students’ multipurpose hall, 16 units’ 3-bedroom flat staff quarters with swimming pool, gymnasium and lawn tennis court.
Other facilities are, library, moot court/law clinic building, sick bay, administrative block, cafeteria and sporting facilities for students.
Nigeria, Suffering From Leadership Failure, Wike Affirms
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that it was regrettable that 61 years after Independence, Nigeria was still grappling with leadership challenge.
The governor pointed out that because of such leadership failure, Nigeria was now at a point in its history needing God more than ever.
Wike made the assertion at the Interdenominational Church Service organised in commemoration of the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor stated that there was hardly anything for Nigerians to celebrate as the country marks 61st Independence anniversary because its leadership continues to entrench hatred, mediocrity, promote ethnicity and religion.
“This is the time that Nigeria needs God more. The country is gone. Insecurity everywhere! Everyone needs to say God; we need you because man’s leadership has failed this country.”
The governor noted that, perhaps, the only thing Nigerians can boast of celebrating was the existence of the name, Nigeria.
“At 61 years, Nigeria is full of enmity, full of divisions, hatred, and ethnicity: A country that cannot put itself together.
“Everybody has responsibility; so, ask yourself questions, have I done my own part?”
Wike also observed the sorry state of Nigeria, and said at 61, it was far removed from being a country that can compete favourably with prosperous countries of the world, given its abundant resources.
The governor bemoaned what has become of the nation’s Legislature that continues to approve anything for the Presidency, and not minding the consequences.
He also decried how the nation’s Judiciary has succumbed to intimidation because its judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear, and wondered what fate Nigerians would have under such seeming tyrannical atmosphere.
“We cannot do the right things. Other countries are talking about how their elections will be transparent; we are talking about how we will rig the election in 2023.
“Simple thing, transmit election results electronically to show transparency, that really that the person you’re declaring won the election but we are afraid.”
“Where is the Legislature? A Legislature that cannot think, a Legislature, anything they bring is right, a Legislature that cannot say that Nigeria has nothing to regret from conducting free and fair election.
“A Legislature that you’ll close your eyes, anything they bring, about borrowing, you say borrow. A Legislature that cannot say that this money we are borrowing, where is it? Where are you applying it? You have no confidence to ask questions.
“The courts have been intimidated. The judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear. You’re seeing something that is wrong, but because you will be summoned in the night, you abandoned your responsibility.”
Wike also blamed the woes the country has suffered on all Nigerians who have refused to do the right things, but rather allowed the wrong things to be perpetrated in all facets of the society.
He noted how ascendancy to leadership was no longer by merit but by ethnic affinity and religious consideration, even when such persons do not have the capacity required to function in such offices.
Speaking further, Wike berated the church leadership over the inordinate dressing of a young man that he saw in the church, and attributed such sight to lack of enforcement of discipline in the church.
In his sermon, Bishop of the Diocese of Niger Delta North, Rt. Rev. Wisdom Ihunwo, noted that only foolish people despise God and attribute their successes in life to personal efforts and ingenuity.
Ihunwo said such foolish people abound in Nigeria because they have hearts of corruption, treat humanity with disdain and delight in doing abominable things and divert public funds for personal use.
According to Ihunwo, it was baffling that despite having leadership over the country, there was unabated spree of killings, a seemingly thriving kidnapping business with some officers of the military killed without drastic measures taken to return Nigeria to the path of sanity.
While charging the church to rise to speak courageously against wickedness in the land, Ihunwo declared the judgement of God upon the sponsors of such killings and kidnapping that have put Nigeria in a pitiable state that its people cannot celebrate independence of the country at 61 years.
Special prayers were said at the service for God’s favour and grace upon Nigeria and its leaders, Rivers State Executive Council, Judiciary and the Legislature, for the governor and his family, as well as the church and its leaders.
Dreams To Achieve Peace, Dev In N’Delta Achieved, FG Boasts
The Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio, has said that the Federal Government has achieved its dream of moving the Niger Delta from incessant protest to peace and development.
Dikio said this, last weekend, when an ex-militant, High Chief Biobopere Ajube, was conferred with a chieftaincy title in Arogbo Ijaw Ibe, Beleukoriwei (Pathfinder) by the Paramount Ruler of the kingdom, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, in his palace in Arogbo, Ondo State.
According to him, the present administration has succeeded in curtailing the restiveness in the region through engagements with the ex-militants.
He assured them that government would not renege in its promises to ensure that the region and its people are developed.
Dikio called on ex-agitators to emulate the disposition of Ajube in peace and entrepreneurship.
He lauded Ajube for leading the charge for a peaceful and prosperous Niger Delta, noting that he was the face of what can happen in the region.
According to him, “with the likes of Ajube, who had undertaken the task of having 400 ex-agitators trained in his Bradama facility under the PAP’s Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) model, the dream of moving the Niger Delta from incessant protest to peace and development is achievable.
“We’re here to tell this community and indeed the world what Ajube means to us. He is very special and we’re excited that he bought into our vision in PAP which is tailored to change the narrative in the region.
“He took the lead of our Train, Employ and Mentor initiative and has pledged to have 400 of our people trained in his facility.
“He is the face of what can happen in the region and there is no doubt that with people like him, the Niger Delta can truly be the place to live and do business”
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who was represented by his Deputy, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa, described Ajube as a proud son of Ondo, who had made a tremendous impact in the lives of his people.
He said the honour was a testament of all he had been doing for his people, and urged him not to relent but extend similar gestures to other parts of the state.
“We’re gathered here to celebrate a man who through self-development and engagement is where he is today. We’re proud of him as a true son of Ondo State. All he thinks about is development, peace and empowerment which is a good thing”.
Also speaking, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe said Ajube, during the height of militancy in the Niger Delta, was grossly misunderstood by the Federal Government but as head of the Amnesty Programme, he stood firmly by his side, to explain that he meant well.
He said, “This honour is well deserved. The story and struggle of the emancipation and dealing with the issues in the Niger Delta will not be complete without the mention of High Chief Bibopere Ajube. The story is deep for some of us.
“So, I’m proud that we’re gathered here to celebrate peace, excellence, leadership, strive for sustainable development, honest, and sincere man that loves his God. I know him when he had nothing. He is a man that has the interest of his people in his heart”.
The Traditional Ruler of Arogbo Ijaw Ibe, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, said it was not a mistake that Ajube was honoured with the highest title, noting that the kingdom has been blessed by him and decided to display that by conferring the prestigious title on him.
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