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Petrol Scarcity Looms As NARTO Begins Nationwide Strike

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Tanker File Photo

Nigeria may again experience another phase of petrol scarcity as the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) reportedly ordered tanker drivers across the country to stop operations.

Naija News understands that the order was given by NARTO on Monday, September 21, at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, stating that the tanker drivers should from Tuesday, September 22, 2020, suspend their operations nationwide.

The directive was coming as NARTO protest against the Federal Government’s ban on petroleum trucks above 45,000 litres from plying Nigerian roads. The organisation which overseer the operation of all commercial vehicles owners in Nigeria engaged in the haulage of petroleum products, general cargoes, and movement of goods and passengers within the country and the West-African sub-region, Naija News understands.

Giving an update on the development in Abuja today, NARTO’s National President, Yusuf Othman, stated that members of the association would have to park their trucks from tomorrow through Wednesday, September 23 as a warning to government against the abrupt ban.

He said, “NARTO received with grave shock the recent government decision to place immediate ban on all petroleum trucks above 45,000 litres capacity from plying Nigeria roads.”

According to Othman, “the sudden ban was highly insensitive and unappreciative of the efforts NARTO members in the sensitive distribution and supply chains of petroleum products across the country.”

He reiterated that none of the major transport companies nationwide at this time could continue any form of operations with this policy, adding that if the ban was not lifted, the association would begin a full-blown industrial action.

He added, “In view of the above, we are therefore constrained to allow the decision of all our members to park their trucks as from tomorrow, 22nd to 23rd September 2020, to prevail as a warning. And furthermore, issue 10 days ultimatum with effect from 24th September 2020, for a full-blown withdrawal of service.”

“If such scenarios occur, we earnestly plead with those who will lose employment, income, and the general public that will be negatively affected by this avoidable situation,” Othman stated.

NARTO lamented that it was distressing and discouraging for the federal government to impose the new policy abruptly without giving the operators time to gradually phase out the affected trucks.

“The leadership of NARTO is not in any way against the decision of the Federal Government to ban the use of trucks with more than 45,000 litres capacity in the conveyance of petroleum products considering the dilapidated state of Nigerian roads,” said Othman.

“But NARTO is particularly concerned about the sudden and prompt nature of the ban. We consider the approach to be highly insensitive to the huge investments the owners of these trucks have made and debts they incurred in executing the mandate given by previous administration.”

The association argued further that the ban would be counterproductive as the sudden withdrawal of these trucks would impact heavily and negatively on the operations of members, lead to job losses of about 40,000 people, and cause petrol scarcity.

Meanwhile, the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) has eventually called off its seven-day warning strike plus and has directed its members to resume work on Friday (today).

Source: Naija News