Fuel Queues Return As Oil Workers Begin Strike

Long fuel queues have emerged in Nigerian cities in the country as oil workers commenced strike action nationwide on Monday.

Workers under the umbrella of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, are striking to protest government’s refusal to address issues concerning their members and others affecting the operation of the petroleum industry.

PENGASSAN said the strike is primarily to protest the sacking of the its zonal secretary in Port Harcourt by the management of Total Nigeria and the federal government’s reluctance to promote workers at the Petroleum Development Trust Fund, PTDF.

The oil workers’ union is also aggrieved about the non-implementation of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act and the fact that the National Assembly has not passed the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which had been sent to the legislative house for consideration and approval more than two years ago.

The workers insist that the chaos in nation’s petroleum industry was a direct consequence of the absence of a regulatory and legal framework to direct operations in the sector..



    Claiming to have inside information that a plot was in works by the Senate to call for the setting aside of further considerations and deliberations on the PIB till the next legislative session, the workers say the PIB approval was long overdue considering the fact that the bill was one of the key draft laws handed over by the previous legislative assembly for deliberation and approval by the incumbent legislators.

    The oil workers also claim to have uncovered a plot by the government to clandestinely execute the sale of the country’s four refineries and that the reduction of crude oil allocation to the refineries for local petroleum products refining from 60 to 30 per cent and then to zero was a deliberate strategy to make the refineries appear unviable and their rehabilitation impossible, in order to make the sale option appear like sound judgment to Nigerians.

    The unions are also protesting alleged poor funding to the Petroleum Training Institute, PTI, which was established to provide trained personnel for the oil sector.

    The strike action has led to the return of long queues at fuel station across Abuja, the nation’s capital and in other cities, causing fears that the tradition of fuel scarcity during the yuletide season might, once again, rear its ugly head.

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