Lagos - The National Union of Petroleum
and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) on Monday said the prevailing fuel scarcity
may worsen if depot owners shut their depots to tanker drivers.
Mr Tokunbo Korodo, the South-West Chairman of the union told
the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that no tanker driver had loaded
petroleum products as at 1.30 p.m on Monday.
“What I was told was that the independent depot owners may
have shut their depots to tanker drivers because of the over N200 billion owed
them by the Federal Government.
“The other information I got was that the Depot and
Petroleum Products Marketing Association (DAPPMA) is meeting with the
President-elect on the subsidy issue.
“I think the outcome of that meeting may determine if DAPPMA
will reopen the depots for loading or import more into the country.
“But as at 1.30 p.m. on Monday none of the union members has
loaded fuel from DAPPMA depots in Apapa ,” Korodo said.
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He said that the relocation of tankers from highways and the
inability to load fuel at the depots were responsible for the free-flow of
traffic in Apapa axis.
Korodo said that DAPPMA and major marketers were aggrieved
over the yet to be settled subsidy claims.
Efforts to obtain comment from Mr Adewole Olufemi, Secretary
General of DAPPMA on the closure of depots failed.
Korodo added that the recent directive by the Lagos State
Government for tanker drivers to relocate from the highways within 48 hours had
not yielded any result.
According to him, tanker drivers have vacated the highways
but other heavy duty vehicles, especially container drivers have taken over.
“The government cannot chase tanker drivers away for other
heavy duty vehicles to occupy the space.
“Lagosians should know that tankers have not been the
problem of gridlock in Lagos.
“We occupied the road because we were told to pick fuel only
at Apapa,” he said.
He urged the government to settle importers for calm to
return to the sector.
NAN reports that the petroleum products’ marketers said on
May 14 they would no longer import products except the Federal Government
settle their subsidy claims.
The marketers said that the last meeting they had with the
Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Abuja ended in a deadlock.
The government had put the subsidy debt at N131 billion
while the marketers insisted on N200 billion.