President of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG), Comrade Igwe Achese, has denied that the union was on strike and urged Nigerians to disregard the threat of strike issued by the former President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mr. Aminu Abdulkadir.
Achese told journalists at the weekend after an emergency meeting of its National Executive Committee in Abuja that Abbdulkadir lacked the constitutional powers to pull workers out for strike, assuring that the lingering scarcity of petroleum products would end this week.
He also said the lingering leadership crises in IPMAN, which had been determined by a court, would be settled very soon.
According to him, he has directed its members at NIPCO to resume work “because they withdrew their services due to the leadership tussle which threatened the guaranteed their rights as workers.”
He said: “We want to tell Nigerians NUPENG is not on strike, and that the issue of withdrawing services from NIPCO depot is not what is causing the scarcity today as assumed, and the threat of IPMAN going on strike is not true. Aminu, who might have gone out with his agents to have made those comments, does not have the constitutional powers to declare any strike action in IPMAN,” he said.
“Nigerians must also know how the downstream sector works; today, we are major stakeholders in the downstream sector. Sixty to 70 per cent of the downstream sector is within the confinements of NUPENG. We want to assure Nigerians that the issue of fuel scarcity is not caused by NUPENG, and as a union, we are not on any strike as assumed in the National Assembly.”
While speaking on the ongoing crisis, Achese stressed that “Nigeria is still depending on importation of petroleum products, which is mortgaged into the hands of marketers who are private depot owners and importers.”
“Our refineries are epileptic in production and that cannot sustain this country, which is why we are here.”
When asked whether or not NUPENG could sanction IPMAN for allegedly insisting on collecting fuel subsidy money without supply, Achese said: “NIPCO example is part of those sanctions we can take in withdrawing our services from the depot if found that they are having some fraudulent activities at the ongoing in their environment. The allegation is true.”