Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTDs) in Lagos State have embarked on industrial action over alleged extortion, harassment by security agents, and area boys across the state.
They explained that their services were withdrawn in line with the directive of its umbrella body, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) which fixed commencement of the action on Aug. 10.
It would be recalled that NUPENG had after its meeting with Lagos State Government ended in a deadlock on Sunday insisted that the drivers would commence strike action today.
NUPENG’s National President, Williams Akporeha, and General Secretary, Olawale Afolabi had in a joint statement said the directive became necessary due to failure of various authorities in the state to address some pending issues.
The issues include extortion of money from the drivers by various security agents; the menace of containerized trucks at Apapa, Kirikiri, and Beach Land axis areas of the state.
Others are harassment and extortion by area boys as well as area god-fathers as part of the challenges.
The body’s South-West Chairman, Tayo Aboyeji, had while addressing reporters said, “they only promised to get back to us after we have told them what we want to avert the strike. Now, our stand still remains that they should address the issues of extortion and harassment of our members by security agents.
“Security agents and hoodlums are extorting our members and officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management use a taser on our drivers and this can kill. Since they are not ready to address these issues, we will start the strike on Monday morning (today) until they are able to resolve them.
“It is unfortunate that the strike might affect all other states in the federation because most of them load their petroleum products in Lagos depots. We are not happy to disrupt fuel supply because we know the effect but we cannot continue to cope with the problems,” he said.
However, while confirming the decision on Monday said that the strike began in the early hours of Aug. 10, following negotiation breakdown between the state government and the union and that only those drivers in Lagos proceeded with the industrial action.
“Although, we met with the state government yesterday night (Aug. 9), yet we could not reach an agreement.
“So, only the tanker drivers in Lagos State proceeded with the strike, because the environment is not conducive for tankers to operate,’’ he said.