Mr Lucky Osesua, the Chairperson of Petrol Tanker Drivers under the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (PTD-NUPENG), said the union will stop lifting products at its Port Harcourt zone by Monday, January 9.
Speaking during a press conference in Abuja, Osesua alleged that men of the Nigerian military burnt down two trucks conveying high pour fuel oil (HPFO) popularly known as black oil while on transit from Imo to Delta state.
He further warned that the decision to suspend operations would stand until all the damages incurred as a result of the high-handedness of the military task force are addressed.
More details: According to Mr Osesua, the trucks lifted the black oil from a modular refinery operated by Walter Smith Refinery and Petrochemicals in Ibigwe, Imo state. The trucks marked, EFR 770 XA and AFZ 351 ZY, were intercepted by the military in Rivers state, where they were set ablaze.
He added that the destruction of PTD-NUPENG product trucks could affect fuel supply across the country, thereby increasing lingering fuel scarcity.
Presenting photographs of the burnt trucks to members of the press, he said:
“The trucks laden with 40,000 litres of black oil were on their way to Bob & Sea Depot Koko Delta state. The drivers presented way bills, NUPENG receipts, and quality control documents but the military men still insisted that they carried crude oil. They drove the two trucks away and burnt them between Ahoada and Elele in Rivers state, on Tuesday night.
“Without investigation, without reaching out to the refinery where the drivers mentioned that they lifted the black oil, the soldiers burnt down the trucks in less than five hours.
“Enough is enough about the high-handedness of our security agents. They should stop demonizing our union and persecuting our men who are doing their normal business. We expect that in this modern world, trained security agents should be able to identify black oil as against crude oil. We should not be at the receiving end of their ignorance.”
For the record: Residents in Port Harcourt have lamented purchasing fuel for as high as N400 per litre from filling stations since the Christmas period.
A Port Harcourt resident, Isioma Charles told Nairametrics that the price has fluctuated from around N279 in late December 2022 to N380 per litre in January 2023.
Since 2022, the federal government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited have collaborated with security agencies to fight against crude oil theft which has cut down the country’s earnings from oil and gas. Security agents are not oil and gas professionals and could find it difficult to understand the difference between crude oil and HPFO.