Tanker drivers to embark on nationwide strike, blame security agencies



The Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers has threatened to embark on strike on Monday over what they described as illegal activities and  high-handedness by security agents.


PTD said security agents, particularly the military task force operating in the Port Harcourt zone of the union, had been making it tough for tanker drivers in the zone to operate.


The National Chairman, PTD- NUPENG, Lucky Osesua, told journalists in Abuja that men of the military task force operating in Port Harcourt, burnt two trucks conveying High Pour Fuel Oil, otherwise known as black oil on Tuesday night.


He said the truck drivers were falsely accused of transporting crude oil, adding that the trucks, which lifted the black oil at a modular refinery, Walter Smith Refinery and Petrochemical Ibigwe Imo State, on Monday and Tuesday, were intercepted between Ahoada and Elele in Rivers State.


Osesua gave the plate numbers of the trucks as EFR 770 XA and AFZ 351 ZY. He said each of the vehicles were conveying 40,000 liters of black oil to Bob & Sea Depot, Koko, Delta State.


He said the drivers of the two trucks were polite in their responses and presented all the necessary  documents to officers of the military, who ignored the documents, rebuffed appeals and burnt the trucks.


The PTD chairman said, “The drivers presented waybills, NUPENG receipts, and quality control documents. But the military men still insisted that they carried crude oil.


“They drove the  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.”


Osesua said the documents were signed by the Manager, Walter Smith Refinery and Petrochemical, Charles Okon, indicating where the products were loaded.


He said the union had taken a decision to stop lifting products at its Port Harcourt zone, adding that the same decision to stop loading nationwide would be taken by Monday, except damages incurred as a result of the high-handedness of the military task force were addressed.


“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 business,” the PTD chairman stated.


He added, “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 further hinted that in a desperate move to clean up their actions, the soldiers mobilised those who pick scraps to the sight of the burnt trucks (Punch).


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