Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Residents of Rivers and Bayelsa States on Tuesday heaved a sigh of relief as the Port Harcourt Zone of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) announced the suspension of its two-week-old strike following the intervention of the Rivers State Government.
The Rivers and Bayelsa chapters of the union two weeks ago embarked on strike to protest against the sack of 100 of its members by two oil servicing companies in the states.
Long queues returned to filling stations in Port Harcourt and motorists were forced to pay up to N250 per litre of petrol at the few stations that had the product.
The acting Chairman Port Harcourt Zone of NUPENG, Mr. Charles Eleto, said at a news conference in Port Harcourt yesterday that they went on strike because of anti-labour practices of the two companies.
He said the union would meet with Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, to formalise the process and chart the way forward.
“We, therefore, advise all members of the union to go back to work and thank the public for their patience and understanding during the strike,” he said.
Mr. Bassey Harry, National Industrial Relations Officer, NUPENG, commended the Rivers Government for intervening to end the strike. He called on members to resume work and start loading immediately.
“We want to urge all the depots to allow only trucks from Rivers to load products.
“Only those trucks from Rivers should load within 72 hours because of the suspension of the strike,” he said.
Rivers Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Shedrack Ogbogu, said Wike decided to intervene to stop the misunderstanding between the union and oil servicing companies.
He called on all stakeholders in the crisis to attend a meeting convened by the governor to formally end the strike.