Governor Udom Emmanuel has frowned at the ongoing strike action by the Akwa Ibom State chapter of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Petrol Tanker Drivers Association (PTD) and affiliate unions, describing it as a ploy to cover up illegality.
Governor Emmanuel expressed the displeasure at Ibom International Airport during his interaction with Government House Correspondents on arrival from Abuja. The governor said the incessant strike actions by the petroleum marketers has caused undue hardship to commuters and motorists and crippled the state economy. He sympathized with the public over the hardship and urged the people to remain calm assuring that normalcy would soon be restored.
He wondered why the Petroleum Marketers and Tanker Drivers could take delight in the suffering of other citizens for their selfish gains stressing that many people have sustained injuries due to explosion caused by adultrated products dispensed by the marketers to unsuspecting consuming public. He said attempt by the state government to ascertain the quality of products dispensed by the marketers is being resisted and that government would not fold its hands and watch the sabotage.
"The question on every lip is, why is it only in Akwa Ibom? It means something is wrong somewhere. We lost some lives recently because of the adulterated petroleum products especially kerosene, and people were saying we have not done anything about it."
Governor Emmanuel while opening up on the current strike action, explained that, "we sealed up some stations, got the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps to carry out inspection by looking at the licenses and quality of products and criminality was discovered... a Tanker was arrested with adulterated products. I don't know why that should cause the Union to go on strike.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Eket has warned the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in Eket against an arbitrary increase in the price of petrol. Mr Bassey Nkanga, DPR’s Operations Controller in charge of Akwa Ibom and Cross River, gave the warning in Eket on Wednesday.
Nkanga said the department would not allow such increase even as the petrol tanker drivers were on strike. He said the department had invited IPMAN executives to appeal to their members not to take advantage of the situation to increase the price of petrol unnecessarily.