For some reason, every year towards the festive season end of year, something always happens to orchestrate the possibility of fuel strike actions. It is the time to remember promises not kept, supplies not made, price hikes that cannot be upheld and anything that will bring the oil workers sector into conflict with the Federal Government for which the public must pay.
News reaching us state that this year may be no different as PENGASSAN has announced plans by the association to commence industrial action in the first week of January, 2014. While this may be said not to have much effect on commuting during the festive period, it is definitely going to spark fuel scarcity and fuel price hikes as the strike date gets closer unless something is done. In any case, the culture of trans-Nigeria travel at this time of the year normally would affect the supply and cost of fuel.
The association, through its National President (Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association) Babatunde Oguns has expressed its seriousness to carry out this threat if the Federal Government fails to rescind its decision to privatise the nation’s refineries.
Addressing members of the association at the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in Abuja, Mr Oguns, flanked by the Deputy President of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers, said that the planned privatization is an attempt to hand over the nation’s refineries to cronies of the Federal Government.
He said that an indefinite strike will be declared in the first week of January 2014, to press home their demand on the Federal Government not to sell the nation’s refineries in the name of privatization.
“If between now and 24th of this month (December), government does not retract that every statement that has been made has been put on hold while further engagement is made, and everything we have to do is hinged on PIB (Petroleum Industry Bill) by first week of January, be rest assured that PENGASSAN and NUPENG will go on indefinite strike.”
He further said: “You cannot sell something without a model, without Nigerians knowing exactly what you are doing…the nature in which they do business in the oil and gas industry is fraught with secrecy. There must be a retraction first and it’s what they will make public, so Nigerians will know that it is on hold.”