The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, on Friday told the Federal Government to “think outside the box,’’ to end persistent fuel scarcity in Nigeria.
The President of the union, Igwe Achese, told labour correspondents in Lagos that government must make a paradigm shift to resolve the energy crisis which has plagued Nigeria for decades.
“Nigeria is Africa’s top crude oil producer but a combination of factors has thrown up complex problems, including scarcity of gasoline that has left the population at the receiving end.
“Government should realise that NNPC alone cannot be able to sustain petroleum supply in the country,’’ Mr Achese stated.
He warned that NUPENG would shut down the oil sector if petroleum marketers went ahead to sack their workers, referring to a threat by another oil sector union to offload up to 10,000 workers.
The labour chief, who spoke to reporters after a meeting of NUPENG Elders Stakeholders, warned that the union would respond to any threat to its members.
He said that NUPENG would be at the receiving end of the problem if the grievances of oil marketers were not promptly addressed.
”The problem will not only affect workers but tanker drivers, hence if it happens, we will react to protect our members.
“We have always said that for fuel crisis to end in the country, our refineries must return to full steam. If we are importing that should only be a stop gap.”
The unionist restated that the option of modular refineries should be given special thought, pointing out that government should ensure that those given licences commenced operations immediately.
On February 20, the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, DAPPMAN, gave the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum to pay N650 billion owed its members.
The Executive Secretary of DAPPMAN, Olufemi Adewole, warned that failure to meet the deadline would force members to shut down depots being used currently by the NNPC.