Petroleum tanker drivers to protest, threaten breakaway from NUPENG

Turmoil in the Fuel Supply Chain, Petroleum Tanker Drivers' Potential Breakaway from NUPENG

The Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) have threatened to exit its umbrella body, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), if its president, Williams Akporeha, and general secretary, Afoloabi Olawale, refuse to resign.

Gbenga Olawale, an ex-officio of the PTD from the Ibadan depot, said in a statement on Sunday that their members would begin a nationwide protest to press home their demand.

At the heart of the matter are the deep-seated grievances held by the petroleum tanker drivers. The demand for the resignation of NUPENG’s top leadership, including the president and general secretary, reflects dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs within the union. Specific concerns have not been explicitly outlined, but it is apparent that the drivers feel their interests and concerns are not adequately represented or addressed by the union’s leadership.

Understanding the significance of the PTD in the fuel supply chain is crucial to appreciating the potential impact of their discontent. Petroleum tanker drivers play a pivotal role in transporting the nation’s fuel from refineries to distribution points and eventually to fuel stations. Any disruption in their operations can have cascading effects on fuel availability and prices, impacting the daily lives of millions of Nigerians.

The call for the resignation of NUPENG’s president and general-secretary is not a decision taken lightly by the Petroleum Tanker Drivers. Such a move indicates a profound breakdown in trust and communication between the union’s leadership and its vital constituent. The demand for new leadership suggests a desire for a more responsive and accountable representation that genuinely addresses the concerns of the drivers who navigate the challenging and often perilous job of transporting petroleum products across the country.

The statement directed PTD members across the country to move with leaves in front of their trucks to serve as a warning to NUPENG and police against interference and incessant harassment of their leaders.

According to Mr. Olawale, Mr. Akporeha is not a member of NUPENG and, as such, lacks the competence to lead the union.

He alleged that Mr. Akporeha was drafted into the petrol station workers of NUPENG (PSW) to enable him to contest the election as NUPENG president, which was a departure from the NUPENG constitution.

“Williams is not a worker or a pump attendant on record as of the time he was verifying for the president position,” the statement said.

Mr Olawale further alleged that Mr Akporeha planted his surrogates to collect all revenue of the union which were not used for the development of the union and tanker drivers.

He called for a fresh election as members of the PTD have decided to stand with Lucky Osusan and Dayyabu Garga to be the new NUPENG president and general-secretary, respectively.

Mr Olawale added that they decided to support Messrs Osusan and Garga because they have sacrificed so much to ensure that their members were free from all kinds of extortion.

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