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No going back on October 8 nationwide strike, say petroleum tanker drivers

The Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has resolved to begin strike on October 8 if the Federal Government fails to meet their three demands.

The National Chairman of the Union, Otunba Salman Oladiti made this disclosure in an interview with the Tribune Online, on Monday.

Otunba Oladiti stated that the Federal Government should reconstruct all the bad portions of the roads, enhance the enforcement of 45,000 loading capacity and ensure all trucks have safety valve devices.

The comrade stated that bad roads, operating above the mandated carrying capacity and lack of safety valve devices are the major causes of road accidents in the country.

He explained that their drivers stay put in a particular spot for days due to the bad roads; hence, called on the government to ensure comprehensive palliative intervention on the bad portion of the roads across the country in line with international best practices.

The chairman further explained that some tank farm owners still use tankers exceeding 45,000 carrying capacity despite reaching an agreement with the government on this.

“By the end of this week, if nothing is done about our demands, we will go on strike proper on the 8 of next month.

“Before now, we gave government ultimatum of 21 days, 14 days and 7 days. But, due to intervention, we suspended it.

“This time around, we don’t need to give notice again. We will act on what we have suspended before.

“We have three demands and they are- Reconstruction of all the bad portion of the roads, limiting the loading capacity to 45,000 litres and enforcement of safety valve devices on trucks.

“We do not say the government should construct all the Nigerian roads at the same time but do a comprehensive palliative intervention on all the bad portions that can make our members stay in a certain place for two-five days.

“It happened in other areas- Calabar-Odukpani, Warri -Benin, Okenne-Lokoja. These roads are very very bad.

“We agreed on 45,000 capacity and that any load that exceeds 45,000, the government should disallow it through the tank farm owners.

“Any tank farm owner that load above 45,000 have to be sanctioned. Based on this, some went with the perception that we wanted to cause fuel scarcity.

“Now, we have 100,000 capacity along these Nigerian roads and that is why if they fix a certain portion of the road today, it would have been damaged again before three months.

“When a tanker crashed and the tanker has a safety valve device, a single litre will not come out talk-less of causing fire; Hence, we are advocating for safety valve devices on all of the operational tankers in the country,” He said.

While reacting to the Union’s position on the state of the tanker drivers, Oladiti stated that they are being trained and retrained annually in conjunction with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Vehicle Inspection Officers, Civil Defence and Police, including people who are specialists in safety and security from various institutions and there have been positive results.

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