The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas employees has announced the immediate suspension of the nationwide industrial action embarked upon by its Petroleum Tanker Drivers division.
This is coming as motorists went about their normal activities in Abuja and Lagos on Monday as most of the filling stations dispensed products seamlessly without queues despite the strike by the tanker drivers.
For instance, the two biggest mega filling stations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation along the Zuba-Abuja Expressway had the usual number of motorists and there was no serious queue at the outlets when our correspondent visited.
The same situation was observed in other filling stations in the city centre, as well as in parts of Kaduna, Niger and Nasarawa states.
The situation was the same in Lagos and Ogun states as filling stations carried on with their normal business activities.
The President, NUPENG, Igwe Achese, announced that the strike had been called off after a meeting that had in attendance members of the union, the PTD, National Association of Transport Owners and the management of the NNPC, led by its Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru.
The meeting was held at the corporate headquarters of the NNPC in Abuja and commenced around 3pm on Monday.
“Igwe Achese of NUPENG announced the call off of the strike after the meeting, which was spearheaded by our GMD,” the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, told our correspondent.
During the meeting, Baru announced that the Federal Government had approved the increase in the bridging cost allowance to oil marketers in order to ensure adequate transportation of petroleum products across the country from the various depots.
The NNPC boss said, “I’m happy to announce to you that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, has just approved the increase in the bridging cost allowance from N6.20 to N7.20. This is a good platform for you all to discuss the issues. We expect that with this, you will call off the strike immediately.
“I plead with you to ensure that your discussions should be guided by national and not personal interest.”
Last week, the PTD arm of NUPENG said it would commence a nationwide strike from Monday.
The strike was to draw the attention of the 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.
Baru said the review of the bridging cost should give NARTO the breathing space to engage with the tanker drivers to immediately discuss and resolve as many of the issues as possible, adding that the gesture was expected to normalise relations between the unions.
He explained that NNPC intervened in the faceoff between the unions in order to ensure the energy security of Nigeria, adding that ordinarily the dispute was only between the PTD and its employer, NARTO.
The National President, PTD, Salimon Oladiti, lauded the NNPC boss and his management for their timely intervention and urged them to address the unruly behaviour of security agencies towards the members.
On his part, the National President, NARTO, Kassim Bataiya, assured Baru that with his intervention, the condition of service document would be reviewed to improve the drivers’ welfare.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Joseph Akinlaja, who represented the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, commended the corporation for the intervention, adding that the move saved the country a lot.