Petrol scarcity may worsen as NUPENG accuses security agents of destroying tankers



The scarcity of premium motor spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, may worsen following a claim by tanker drivers that security agents destroyed products they had lifted from refineries.


Lucky Osesua, chairman of petroleum tanker drivers (PTD), a branch of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), spoke at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday.


Nigerians are currently experiencing a widespread petrol scarcity which has protracted for several weeks, affecting the means of livelihood of citizens.


Speaking to journalists at the news conference, Osesua said the military on Tuesday night destroyed two trucks conveying high pour fuel oil (HPFO) popularly known as black oil.


He said the trucks had lifted the black oil from a modular refinery — Walter Smith Refinery and Petrochemical Ibigwe — in Imo state.


The PTD chairman said the trucks marked, EFR 770 XA and AFZ 351 ZY, were intercepted in Rivers, where they were burnt.


“The trucks laden with 40,000 litres of black oil were on their way to Bob & Sea Depot Koko Delta state,” he said while showing reporters receipts and pictures of the burnt trucks.


 “The drivers presented way bills, NUPENG receipts, and quality control documents but the military men still insisted that they carried crude oil. They drove the two trucks away and burnt them between Ahoada and Elele in Rivers state, on Tuesday night.


“Without investigation, without reaching out to the refinery where the drivers mentioned that they lifted the black oil, the soldiers burnt down the trucks in less than five hours.


“Enough is enough about the high-handedness of our security agents.


“They should stop demonising our union and persecuting our men who are doing their normal businesses. We expect that in this modern world, trained security agents should be able to identify black oil as against crude oil.


 “We should not be at the receiving end of their ignorance.”


Osesua lamented that such situations have adversely affected their ability to supply products across the country.


In September, 2022, both NUPENG and PTD withdrew their services over harassment by security operatives, causing fuel scarcity in Rivers.


The groups, however, suspended their industrial action in the state after a meeting convened by Friday Eboka, Rivers commissioner of police and attended by the unions and other stakeholders.


The decision to end the strike was also contained in a communique signed by Chinda Ejims, who had represented the PTD and the representative of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

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