By Emmanuel OGBECHE
It was a huge relief for residents of the Federal Capital Territory following the suspension of the planned strike action by Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, beginning Monday, October 11, 2021.
Most residents as at Sunday morning and early afternoon had started besieging filling stations to fuel their cars as well as buy for their generating sets.
However, following the intervention of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, the tanker drivers suspended the planned industrial action.
The drivers had threatened to begin an indefinite strike as a result of the condition of roads in various parts of Nigeria.
The drivers also complained over the perceived refusal of the federal government to enforce the compulsory installation of safety valve in all petroleum trucks to protect the inflammable contents from spilling over in a situation of road mishaps and alleged continued abuse of the tonnage capacity of petroleum trucks by marketers and transporters across the country.
The PTD had on September 25, issued an October 8, 2021 deadline to the Federal Government to address these pending issues, failing which members would down tools and resume the nationwide strike on Sunday night.
The NNPC had while reacting to the development on Sunday said even though it is not the responsibility of the Corporation to build or rehabilitate roads, any disruption in the distribution of petroleum products to different parts of Nigeria will adversely affect the business of the NNPC.
The NNPC assured the drivers that in addition to the ongoing efforts by other agencies of government, the corporation has initiated a process that will provide a quick and effective solution to the roads network challenges as expressed by the PTD.
Speaking to The Abuja Inquirer on the planned strike before it was called off, Tayo Ademola, a resident of Karu Site in Abuja Municipal Area Council, lamented the spiral effect of any strike, bemoaning the inflationary price of good and services.
“How does one survive in this country remains a miracle. We just survived doctors’ strike now it is petroleum drivers’ strike. If this happens, we will be in deeper mess. The prices of goods and services, which are already prohibitive will simply reach the heavens,” Ademola said.
Also, Mallam Isah, who lives in Kubwa, a satellite town of about 15km from the city centre, could not hide his elation when he heard the strike had been called off.
“I am really grateful that the planned strike has been called off. I wonder what would have happened to most of us. I hope the government resolves whatever the issues are so that we don’t get to suffer the panic buying we did this morning (Sunday).”