From Dennis Mernyi, Abuja
THE Petroleum and Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has said it backed out of the ongoing nationwide indefinite strike led by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) following the withdrawal of its parent body, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other key unions in the country.
PENGASSAN spokesperson, Babatunde Oke, who spoke in a telephone interview explained that NLC operates on its own and the plot to still carry out the strike to protest increase in pump price of petrol by government effects only its affiliates. “We are not part of the strike because we are affiliates of TUC and not NLC. And so, we have no reason to join the strike at the instance of NLC. We are automatically out of it since TUC has withdrawn,” noting that the strike failed partly because of TUC’s withdrawal.
“As you can see, the strike has failed. Everything is normal both in Abuja and Lagos. Reports from other states also confirmed that normal activities went on,” he stated.
The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and PENGASSAN have shunned the strike by Organised Labour to protest the hike in the price of petrol to between N135 and N145 per litre. At the head office of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in Abuja, normal official activities went on as well as at the headquarters of Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) in Abuja.
PENGASSAN, PPPRA Abuja Chapter Chairman, Mr. Victor Ononokpono, who also spoke in Abuja said that PPPRA staff nationwide did not participate in the strike in line with the directive from their national body.
Meanwhile the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) said the liberalisation of the petroleum downstream sector will engender competition, which will likely lead to price reduction.
IPMAN President, Chief Obasi Lawson, who made the observation during an interview with newsmen in Abuja yesterday, urged Nigerians to ignore those calling for strike against the policy.
Lawson admitted that the masses will feel initial pain from the implementation of the policy but assured that in less than one month Nigerians will start reaping the benefits of the new policy.
“The new policy of the Federal Government that effected the change in price of PMS is a welcome development. We, the members of IPMAN welcome the policy because it is going to bring about total liberalisation and also engender healthy competition in the industry.”