The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers on Sunday declared its support for the imminent industrial action by the Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch of NUPENG and announced that it had started mobilising members of the union for the sudden strike.
NUPENG also insisted that its investigations showed that officials of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing were currently diverting the N621bn provided by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited for the rehabilitation of 21 critical highways.
Although the works ministry denied the allegation, the union argued that roads’ rehabilitation pictures being brandished by the FMWH were photographs that were taken before the N621bn was approved.
They disclosed this in a statement jointly signed by the union’s President, Williams Akporeha, and General Secretary, Olawale Afolabi, adding that agreements reached on the matter with the government and other stakeholders in two separate meetings were not upheld.
The statement read in part, “These two meetings resulted into the signing of a communique indicating the readiness and willingness of NNPC to finance the rehabilitation of identified 21 critical roads at an estimated sum of N621bn through road infrastructure tax credit scheme.
“On the basis of this communique, the union suspended the intended industrial
action, but we were very clear in our statement, that should the spirit and letter of the agreement not fully implemented with focus on those jointly identified critical roads or attempt is made to divert the funds, the union will not give further warning to resume the intended actions.
“Unfortunately, our worst fear concerning the struggle is gradually unfolding with information coming out from reliable sources that some elements in the garbs of being state governments, officials of Ministry of Works and Housing and desperate politicians are already dipping their soiled hands into these funds and diverting them to roads already budgeted for and done since last year.”
NUPENG added, “The officials of the Ministry of Works and Housing are going around showing pictures of roads done in June and August 2021 to justify payment made from the N621bn which was approved in October 2021 for the identified 21 critical roads.
“We have our facts and figures, and we shall not be cowed into allowing the N621bn to go the same way other budgeted funds have gone.”
The union demanded the immediate halt to the further release of the fund until a competent monitoring and validation team comprising all stakeholders that signed the communique was formed.
It demanded that the pre-award pictures of the 21 identified roads be taken, which would be compared with pictures of post repairs/reconstruction.
“The N621bn was approved because of our demand and struggle, therefore, we owe our members and the general public the responsibility to ensure that every kobo of the approved fund is accounted for,” NUPENG stated.