Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Subsidy Strike - Tanker Drivers Shun Loading in Ejigbo, Mosinmi Depots

Tanker drivers have suspended loading of petroleum products in Ejigbo and Mosinmi depots following the ongoing strike by oil marketers over non-payment of subsidy claims.

A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who visited the depots on Saturday learnt that loading of the product was suspended following instruction by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).

Mr Tokunbo Korodo, the NUPENG Chairman, Western Zone told NAN in a telephone interview that the strike was called because of the Federal Government's failure to pay subsidy claims and the poor state of the nation's refineries.

Mr Sani Adamu, a tanker driver at Ejigbo depot said: "I came all the way from Lokoja since yesterday to load petrol but we are instructed by NUPENG to join the strike by oil marketers over non-payment of subsidy claims.

"I hope that by Monday both marketers and government will reach a compromise to avert fuel scarcity in the country," he said.

Another tanker driver, Mr Salisu Garba, told NAN at the depot that his company had paid for the product he came to load in Lagos but was caught in the midst of the strike.

"I cannot go back to the North empty without the product and I am even paying for the parking space here which is not part of what I bargained for," the tanker driver said.

He expressed the hope that the matter would be resolved before Monday.

NAN reports that some depot owners in Apapa have also stopped loading petroleum products while some filling stations in Epe and Ikorodu have been shut due to lack of supply.

Mr Fidelis Pepple, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs, told NAN in a text message that "the corporation will issue a statement soon on the matter."

NAN reports that the 48-hours ultimatum the oil marketers gave the Federal Government over the non-payment of subsidy claims ended on Thursday.

Mr Dapo Abiodun, the President, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMA) had told NAN that the association had shut down its operations nationwide pending the payment of the subsidy claims.

"Our total subsidy claims as at the end of May stood at N310 billion while verified claims was about N280 billion.

" We have equally suspended depots operations across the nation till payments plus interest are made," he said.

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