NUPENG, Rivers disagree as union begins strike

LONG queues are set to return to filling stations in Port Harcourt and its environs as the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, other related unions and the Rivers State Government disagree over the strike embarked upon by oil workers on Wednesday.

NUPENG and other relevant bodies had ordered the closure of filling stations in the state and also directed tanker drivers to stop distribution of fuel following what they described as the continued arrest of members and seizure of their tankers.

NUPENG Chairman, Port Harcourt Zone, Alex Agwanwor, said the filling stations would remain closed, while tanker drivers would stay off the roads until all issues were resolved.

“We cannot be going on the road to distribute fuel and being harassed by one task force or security agency.

“Some of the tankers are still being seized, while some of our drivers are detained. We can’t have our member in continuous detention,” Agwanwor stated.

But the state Commissioner for Energy, Peter Medee, told The PUNCH in a telephone interview that it was wrong for the unions to direct their members to embark on strike when 70 per cent of their demands had been met.

“They made some requests and we have fulfilled 70 per cent of the request they made. So, I was surprised they still decided to go on strike. All their men that were arrested have been released and some of the vehicles have been released.”

Our correspondent, who monitored the situation in Port Harcourt, observed that some filling stations like Tonnino filling station, Jet and Royal Dynasty on Ada George Road were all shut down.

A taxi driver, who identified himself as Jude, told our correspondent that he thought that government and tanker drivers had resolved their differences.

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