There are fears that a fresh round of scarcity of petroleum products might hit Port Harcourt and its environs as members of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, unit of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, sustain their strike in the city. Already queues have been resurfacing at petrol filling stations.
The tanker drivers had called out its members on strike a fortnight ago to demand the replacement of two truckloads of petroleum products that disappeared in the custody of a security task force that impounded the trucks.
The Chairman of the Rivers State chapter of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Joseph Obele, told the magazine that security operatives had impounded the trucks on the suspicion that they were carrying adulterated products.
“Samples were collected for laboratory analyses. After the lab analyses it was confirmed that the products were authentic products and not adulterated as claimed,” said Obele. But when the owners of the trucks were invited to retake possession of the trucks, all the products were gone.
“So the NUPENG wing of PTD called for a state-wide strike in the entire Rivers State that no product should be conveyed or any truck should be loaded in any depot pending when the content in the two trucks will be provided by the security operatives,” he added.
He said that since then, it was IPMAN members that had been supplying Port Harcourt and the state with petroleum products. “We are still selling and dispensing. But members are beginning to run out of stock, thus the queues that you are seeing in the stations,” the IPMAN Chairman said.
He pointed out that if PTD NUPENG members do not call off the strike within days, the situation would bite harder.
Rivers State Commissioner for Energy, Peter Medee, has offered to intervene to save the situation. “But if it persists in the next few days I think it will bite harder and there will be scarcity in the state,” Obele added.
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