NUPENG’s Acting General Secretary, Mr. Isaac Aberare
By Linda Eroke
Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Joint Action Front (JAF) have alleged plot by the Federal Government to impose a new price regime for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol.
Both groups in separate statements said the current scarcity being experienced across the country had led to a sharp increase in the price of fuel, which currently sells between N110 and N140 per litre as against the official price of N97.
NUPENG berated the Federal Government over its inability to address the scarcity of fuel stating that it could be another strategy by government to introduce deregulation of petroleum products through the back door.
The union, in a statement issued by its Acting General Secretary, Mr. Isaac Aberare, argued that the reserve which the NNPC claimed could last for 45 days is a ruse as a litre of fuel now sells for over â‚¦110.00 due to persistent scarcity of the product.
The union blamed the government for its current scarcity noting that repairs have not been effected at the vandalised pipelines at Arepo Ogun State due to the inability of the security agencies to recover the bodies of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) workers that were killed last month.
The oil workers union reiterated that the Petroleum Tanker Drivers were at work but have no sufficient product to load at the depots for distribution and called on the appropriate government agencies to live up to their responsibilities by putting an end to the scarcity.
It also called on government to pay verified oil marketers subsidies on products supplied, so that they can import fuel and settle their debts.
“The union states that the reserve the NNPC said it had that could last for 45 days is a ruse and calls on the government to do the right thing and stop the current fuel scarcity. The union condemns the non-challant approach of government in addressing the shortage and hope it is not another strategy to introduce deregulation of petroleum products through the back door, as a litre of fuel now sells for over â‚¦110.00.
“Nigerians should not be allowed to suffer and pay more for petroleum products because the appropriate agencies and government are not proactive enough. The persistent fuel scarcity must not be allowed to go into the Sallah and Christmas festive periods, as hoarding may become the order of the day,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, JAF said it has commenced the process of mobilising Nigerians towards resisting the current scarcity and hike fuel in the price of fuel and urged Nigerians to prepare to join the struggle anywhere they are when such action is declared.
In a statement issued by JAF Chairman, Dr. Dipo Fashina and Secretary, Abiodun Aremu respectively, the group said the recent statement credited to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) that it will shut down any filling station selling fuel above the official prices was deceptive and aimed at disarming Nigerians from protesting against the current prevalence of fuel scarcity and hike in prices. It noted that as at date all the filling stations sell above the official prices adding that none has been shut.
“JAF wishes to alert Nigerians of the surreptitious plot by the Federal Government and the oil marketers to impose a new price regime for petroleum products, thereby artificially inducing and encouraging scarcity of petroleum products (petrol, kerosene and diesel) and its attendant hike in prices across the country.
“JAF notes that filling stations across the country, including NNPC branded outlets sell petrol at N110 to N140 per litre instead of the official price of N97, while kerosene is sold at N120 – N150 a litre instead of N50,” the statement added.