Petrol station_zpsueban2thThe Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has blamed the lingering fuel scarcity in parts of the country on heavy presence of security operatives around filling stations.

NUPENG’s President, Comrade Igwe Achese said security operatives who should have been deployed to fight Boko Haram, kidnappers and armed robbery that are making life unbearable for Nigerians now besieged petrol stations and causing confusion.

Achese who spoke in Port Harcourt on Tuesday at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of NUPENG, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to redeploy the security operatives from fuel stations to areas where they can fight terrorism and other crimes ravaging the country.

In a 10-point communique issued at the end of the NEC meeting, NUPENG also urged Federal Government to flood the market with petroleum products so as to arrest the current fuel scarcity in the country especially during this festive period.

Blame Game
Reading from the communique, the NUPENG boss also fingered the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for contributing to the fuel scarcity, claiming that about 80 percent of petroleum products are being imported by the NNPC with its attendant bureaucracy.

Comrade Achese also said the security challenges on oil pipelines and the movement of fuel from one state to another are equally contributing to the fuel scarcity, stressing that “the Treasury Single Account is not in the interest of Nigerians.”

According to the oil workers, the refusal of the Federal Government to carry out Turn-Around Maintenance (TAM) on the nation’s refineries for the past 16 years contributed to the current fuel crisis. “It is a shame that we cannot do TAM which takes only a year period on our refineries within the last 16 years,” NUPENG laments.

The union also claimed that fuel subsidy was being fraudulently managed, identifying poor subsidy implementation as “a contributory factor to the scarcity”.

NUPENG also vowed to resist subsidy removal if it is done without carrying out Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) on the ailing national refineries.

“Carrying out TAM before the subsidy removal would enable the refineries to produce optimally and cushion the hardship such policy implementation will undoubtedly have on hapless Nigerians,” NUPENG argued.

Continuing, Achese lamented that the exchange rate of dollar to naira is still high adding that “the political goodwill we handed over to this government is not to afflict Nigerians with hardship.”

By Olisemeka Obeche

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