By Uzoh Ugwueze, Enugu
Our correspondent, who visited the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, office, Enugu Depot on Tuesday, reports that no tanker drivers were sighted at the facility to transport fuel to different parts of the states in the region.
A senior staff, who preferred anonymity, said she was not aware of the reason behind the strike. “You can see I’m in my own office working; so, I don’t know why they are on strike. You should go and ask them or the IPMAN; they are in the best position to know,” she said.
When pressed further to know whether the NNPC was notified of the strike, she simply said “go to our corporate headquarters for whatever information you need. I am not in a position to talk to the media on any issue.”
Efforts to get comments from the PTD leadership also proved abortive as both the chairman and the secretary were said to be not on seat. But some officials at their Emene office, beside the NNPC depot, said they gave notice of the strike to all the appropriate authorities.
“Since they don’t want to do what we requested, we have no option than to go on strike. By tomorrow, you will be trekking to this our office”, one of them boasted.
Speaking on the development, the Enugu State Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, IPMAN, Comrade Tagbo Nnamani said two key leaders of the PTD should be held responsible for any fuel supply crisis in the zone. Nnamadi said the IPMAN had earlier hinted security agencies on alleged illegal deals of two PTD leaders, adding that the strike was meant to jeopardize the investigation of the officials.
“It is a mere case of stampede; two persons: Chief Jerome Omeje, the Enugu State unit chairman of the PTD and Chief Peter Modebelul, zonal chairman, Southeast PTD, are stampeding and sabotaging the entire system.
“We wrote a petition against them to all the anti-corruption and security agencies over their nefarious activities here. A case in point is the collection of N60,000 levy on every loaded tanker, and the money goes straight into their private account not even to that of their union.”
“So, because we are making moves against it, they resorted to strike. In the petition we wrote to the EFCC, the ICPC, and all the security agencies, we had hinted clearly that in their normal brigandage, once they become aware of the petition, they will declare strike to stall the investigation and that is actually what has happened.
“At the last count, they had extorted no less than N981540000.00 from IPMAN members, and our demand is that the money should be refunded. That is why they deceived others into embarking on this strike. It has nothing to do with the overall interest of the PTD members.
“We had expected that today, arrests will be made based on that petition, but they resorted to strike. This is an insult on the entire system and that is why we are calling on all the security agencies, the governors and the NNPC to take decisive action.
“Innocent Nigerians should not be thrown into avoidable suffering simply because of the greed and selfish interest of two persons,” he added.