Petrol scarcity looms as tanker drivers give FG ultimatum over Lagos gridlock
The Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) at the weekend threatened to withdraw its services from January 15, 2020, if the Federal Government fails to clear Lagos roads of the gridlock caused by containers.
Chairman of PTD, Comrade Salmom Akanni Oladiti, expressed disappointment over the Federal Government’s inability to decongest Lagos roads of trucks conveying containers, saying the development may lead to severe scarcity of petroleum products if not well handled.
He lamented that the lingering traffic congestion on the roads, particularly at Coconut and Tin Can Island axis, has forced its members to spend weeks before loading petroleum products from the Lagos Tank farm, a situation he said was unacceptable.
Oladiti issued the ultimatum in Benin City, Edo State while addressing journalists at the end of PTD’s quarterly branch executive meeting.
“Although the Federal Task Force set up to decongest Lagos roads of trucks carrying containers have tried its best, the gridlock, particularly at Coconut and Tin Can Island axis still persist, thereby forcing our members to spend weeks before loading petroleum products from the Lagos Tank farm,” he said.
Oladiti, who also lamented activities of vandals, said vandals have destroyed pipelines meant to ensure the free flow of petroleum products across the country.
“The founding fathers meant well by constructing over 5,000km of pipelines. If successive governments since 1999 had paid attention to roads and vandalism, the facilities would not have degenerated to their current level,” he added.
He, therefore, urged the government to speed up the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Benin-Warri and Benin-Auchi-Lokoja roads to enhance ease of moving products.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for his transformation agenda and the Federal Government for making petroleum products available across the country during the Yuletide, Oladiti said the Apapa gridlock appeared to have overwhelmed the authorities and called for urgent measures to remedy the situation.
He, however, sympathised with the drivers over the deplorable condition of the roads and the hardship they face in plying the roads daily while conveying petroleum products.
Oladiti said plans were underway to check activities of suspected criminals that portray PTD drivers in a bad light, as the union would soon roll out new identity cards and stickers designed to identify genuine members.
He urged members of PTD to be vigilant and cautious on the roads during the Yuletide season and avoid night journeys for their safety and for accident-free roads during and after the festive season.