The Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers on Wednesday threatened to begin a sudden nationwide strike to protest the failure of the Federal Government to fix 21 selected highways based on agreement reached by stakeholders.
Also, the drivers, under the endorsement of NUPENG, stated that they had discovered that senior government officials were currently diverting the N621bn provided by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited for the rehabilitation of the identified federal highways.
PTD National Chairman, Salmon Oladiti, told journalists in Abuja that the union was about going on strike in September last year but was prevailed upon by NNPC after the oil firm and the Federal Executive Council approved the N621bn for the roads rehabilitation.
He said NNPC called the leadership of the union for two separate meetings held on October 10, 2021 in Ibadan and October 12, 2021 in Abuja.
Oladiti observed that all critical stakeholders were at these meetings, including Federal Inland Revenue Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners and PTD.
He said, “These two meetings resulted into signing of communique indicating the readiness and willingness of NNPC to finance the rehabilitation of 21 critical roads at an estimated sum of N621bn through road infrastructure tax credit scheme.
“On the basis of this communique, we suspended the intended industrial action but with a very clear warning, that should the spirit and letter of the agreement are not fully implemented with focus on those jointly identified critical roads, the union will not hesitate to resume the intended actions without further warning.
“To the delight of all of us, the issue was tabled before the Federal Executive Council and was expressly approved within two weeks as agreed.”
Oladiti added, “Unfortunately, and to our greatest shock, we heard it from very reliable sources that some vultures in the garbs of being state governments, officials of Ministry of Works and Housing and politicians are already depleting these funds and misappropriating them on roads and projects not intended in the agreement as approved by the Federal Executive Council.
“This is an open day robbery, but we are assuring all and sundry, that our union will go to all length to expose these unscrupulous individuals.
“Every kobo of the approved fund must be accounted for and we must see and broadcast the pre and post rehabilitation of all the identified 21 federal roads to the whole nation.
“Tax payers’ money must be accounted for. We urge every patriotic Nigerians to rise up and join us in this struggle, this is not a fight for NUPENG alone, it is our collective fight.”
Oladiti said nothing had been done on all the 21 roads since late October last year, adding that the union would proceed on sudden strike if the roads were unattended to.
Spokesperson of the works ministry, Boade Akinola, and the media aide to the works minister, Hakeem Bello, could not be reached when contacted. They had yet to respond to different text messages sent to them on them on the matter.