Fuelling stations in Port Harcourt, Rivers state and its environs which were shut down following a strike action called by members of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), have resumed operations.
The reopening last night was due to the suspension of NUPENG/ Independent Petroleum Markets Association of Nigeria, (IPMAN)), action yesterday evening, after several hours of meetings and negotiations at the office of the Department of State securities (DSS), between the two Unions, the Rivers state government and the Economic and financial crime commission on the cause of the strike.
In a statement released by the state government, through the office of the Commissioner for Energy and Natural resources, Dr. Peter Medee about 7:30 pm, NUPENG/IPMAN unanimously agreed to shealth their swords and suspend the action while talk on the release of the drivers continued.
The statement read, “communique reached at the end of the meeting held on February 20, 2020, at the DSS state headquarters between the Rivers state Government, IPMAN, NUPENG, in suspending the strike action of February, 17, 2020, in Rivers state.
“Term of agreement:, parties agreed that a joint committee comprising of NUPENG, IPMAN, DPR, EFCCand Rivers state ministry of energy and natural resources, Rivers state government taskforce and relevant security agencies, to be headed by the commissioner of Energy and natural resources, be constituted.
“That this standing committee shall be the first to attend to all cases and related arrest in the oil and gas sector in the state.
“That this committee shall meet frequently to review emerging trends as they unfold.
“That a platform be created for effective communication and that the committee shall shall immediately commence the process of releasing the certified trucks and their products as agreed by EFCC.
“That parties condemn the activities of illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism artisanal refining of petroleum products and oil theft, While commending the relevant security agencies for their efforts in combating these criminal activities.
“That the Unions hereby agreed to suspend the on-going strike action in Rivers state.
The document sighted by the Nation in Port Harcourt last night was signed by the state commissioner for Energy, Dr. Medee, NUPENG Deputu president, Solomon Kulakwo, IPMAN spokesman, High Chief Ukadike, Head safety/ conflict resolution, state ministry of energy and natural resources, Mrs. Juliet Owhwonda, Zonal chairman IPMAN Eastern zone, Dumbari Dimkpa, among others.
The unions embarked on an indefinite strike action Wednesday over the “unlawful” arrest of two petroleum tanker drivers and their conductors by men of Rivers state special taskforce against illegal parks and markets in the capital city, last week, and the siezure of more than 12 petroleum trucks.
Efforts by the Union to secure the freedom of the men and release of the trucks by the state government failed, forcing them protest the development by locking up all petrol stations in the state, Wednesday morning.
A development which causes untolled hardship on the residents of the state both motorists and passengers.
The situation continues with the populice already grounding amidst outrageous high cost of petrol and cab fare, and many stranded.
However, hope returned last night as the news of the suspension of the strike broke and all the locked up stations reopened for business.