The Petroleum Tankers Division (PTD) of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) threatens to go on strike because of the deplorable state of Nigerian roads, which is killing their members through accidents and ultimately destroying their businesses.
The National President of PTD, Mr Salmon Akanni Oladiti read the riot act at a media briefing in Abuja on Wednesday said the impending strike would happen at very short notice since the agreement on fixing 21 critical roads across the country through the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme of the NNPC was reached in October 2021.
He said: “We’re tired of accidents, being stranded on the roads for weeks, risk of attacks by kidnappers, bandits and terrorists. These criminals have taken over some of these roads. We’ve been on this matter of bad roads for more than three years and last year, we reached an agreement with the NNPC which promised to rehabilitate these critical roads and earmarked N621 billion for it. Some of these roads are less than 25km in length. Tanker crashes were almost a daily occurrence. Security challenge on these roads can’t be overemphasized.
“Unfortunately, and to our greatest shocks, we heard it from very reliable sources that some vultures in the garbs of being State governments, officials of Ministry of Works and Housing and politicians are already depleting these funds and misappropriating them on roads and projects not intended in the agreement as approved by the Federal Executive Council.
“This is an open day robbery, but we are assuring all and sundry that our Union will go to all lengths to expose these unscrupulous individuals. Every kobo of the approved fund must be accounted for and we must see and broadcast the pre and post rehabilitation of all the identified 21 federal road to the whole nation. Tax payers’ money must be accounted for.
“We urge every patriotic Nigerians to rise up and join us in this struggle, this is not a fight for NUPENG alone, it is our collective fight”, he stated.
Oladiti said that to avert industrial action, NNPC held a stakeholders meeting that included the FIRS, FRSC, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners and the Union.
“The meeting resulted in the signing of a communique indicating the readiness and willingness of NNPC to finance the rehabilitation of identified 21 critical roads at an estimated sum of N621 Billion through Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme.
But no single work has happened on these roads. Nothing has happened on the 21 critical roads and it’s disheartening. Our members have gone round and brought us feedback. Rather, people have been collecting from the N621 billion. Are we not human beings? We can’t be dying to supply fuel”, he lamented.