By Sunday Ani
Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Chinedu Anyaso, has said that the recent strike action by the petroleum marketers in Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi States, was only suspended and not called off as most people would want to believe.
In a chat with newsmen, he said the suspension followed the Association’s respect for some influential individuals who waded into the matter, even as he attributed the cause of the strike to some detractors who he alleged wanted to destroy the union.
He made it clear that the group would not hesitate to resume the industrial action if the ongoing intervention failed to yield the expected results.
He commended the IPMAN members and the public for their support, solidarity, resilience and show of love while the strike which commenced on Wednesday September 15 lasted.
He accused an aggrieved member of sponsoring the thugs who broke into the IPMAN’s Enugu secretariat, destroyed several property, and burnt all the files and documents therein, allegedly under the police protection.
He said: “I had gone to deliver a document to the Commissioner of Police (CP), Enugu Command, when the CP informed me that some policemen and purported IPMAN members had come from Abuja to serve my executives and I, an invitation letter to the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
“These people came with a man, who claimed to be the IPMAN Chairman in Anambra State, even when he is not.
“So, I explained to the CP that my team and I were legally elected during our unit elections; that we were duly inaugurated, and that our tenure was still running. I also informed him that there was no outstanding litigation pertaining to IPMAN leadership.
“On Thursday, September 16, as we were holding our meeting in my office at the Secretariat, we got wind that some people had mobilized over 30 thugs to invade our Secretariat. We quickly dispatched some of our members to meet the CP and brief him about the development.
“I was advised to relocate our Depot Community leaders’ meeting to another venue, which I did, and that was when the thugs, shielded by a team of armed policemen, stormed the place and broke into our offices, carting away properties, cash and documents. They also burnt our files and office documents which we had worked very hard to create.
“We quickly informed our national president about the development, but when he contacted the Police Headquarters, they denied any involvement, which was contrary to the video clips in our disposal. That was what led to the warning strike, because the people did not just come to serve a letter of invitation.
“We will continue to resist any attempt to undermine our association and impose on us impostors who do not mean well for our marketers and the public.”
The national leadership of the association had, on Friday, September 17, declared a one-day warning strike, following the alleged invasion of its Enugu secretariat by suspected thugs and security operatives.
The development had caused acute scarcity of petrol (PMS), with the price instantly rising to between N500 to N700 per litre before the strike was suspended in the night of the same day.