By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has raised an alarm that two-third of its membership are currently lying idle due to vandalisation of pipelines across Nigeria.
Speaking at a recent National Transport Summit organised by the Chattered Institute of Transport Administration (CIOTA) in Abuja, Dayebu Galga, 2nd Deputy National Chairman, PTD stated that a lot of depots that were hitherto functional across Nigeria are now lying wasted.
The PTD is a branch of NUPENG, an organisation that cares for all the junior workers in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
The Tanker drivers have equally expressed the frustration of coming down to Lagos to load products, saying that Lagos State is the most hostile and unfriendly to Tanker Drivers, especially due to activities of touts and road unions.
Speaking, the PTD Deputy Chairman said “During the high peak of vandalisation, the PTD took it upon itself to contribute money in manning pipelines from Mosimi to Ibadan and Ilorin, the NNPC has that record”
“In Nigeria today, we have pipelines that the Federal Government spent a lot of money to build, connecting various depot across the country, we have depot in Maiduguri, Gombe, Yola, Kano, Gusau among others.
“The utility value of these properties is when they are being used and enjoyed by the citizens, but unfortunately, that heavy investment is wasting away because of the activities of vandals.
“Over two-third members of PTD are idle today because there is no loading activities in Maiduguri, Gombe, Yola, Jos, Kano, Gusau, Minna, Suleja and Makurdi.
“If all these places are loading, then a lot of members would be making their daily bread. The tanker drivers get revenue only when their tires roll, if you are static, you get nothing”
While highlighting the challenges in coming to Lagos to load petroleum products, he said the risk includes bad roads, area boys and LASTMA in Lagos.
“We prefer these depots across Nigeria to be working, than to be coming to Lagos and facing area boys which if you don’t give them money, they would disconnect the valve that supplies air to your truck and the next thing is accident.
“Lagos is too hostile, unlike Calabar and the other states” he said
He said that the PTD expend millions yearly on sensitising members, especially on safe driving during the ember months.
He however lamented that the business and income in the downstream is regulated while the operational cost is not regulated.
“Today, diesel is sold at almost N400 per litre and it is still the same salary they pay drivers for carrying a 30,000 litres from Lagos from Maiduguri.
Imagine the high coat of tires and other operational cost” he said