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Fuel scarcity looms as tanker drivers embark on two-day warning strike

Fuel scarcity looms as tanker drivers embark on two-day warning strike
September 22
19:32 2020

The Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) has ordered tanker drivers all over the country to suspend operations.

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The association said the two-day warning strike (Tuesday and Wednesday) will be followed by a 10-day ultimatum rom September 24.

NARTO is protesting a federal government directive that has banned petroleum trucks with 45,000-litre capacity and above from plying Nigerian roads.

NARTO is the umbrella organization of all commercial vehicle owners in Nigeria involved in the haulage of petroleum products, general cargoes and movement of passengers, within the country and the entire West-Africa sub region.

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Addressing journalists in Abuja, Yusuf Othman, NARTO national president, said the federal government has been unsympathetic to the plight of the transport sector which has been critically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Othman said that although the association does not disagree with the ban given the state of roads across the country, the federal government needs to give operators ample time to withdraw the affected trucks from the roads.

“For the records, we wish to state very strongly that our members are already discouraged and distressed even with the fact that the transport sector which is one of the sectors that are worse hit by the COVID-19 pandemic because of the total restriction of movement, the federal government refused to extend some intervention to the sector as done to many sectors of the economy including aviation, agriculture and others,” he said.

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“In the light of the foregoing and the fact that we understand the reasons behind government decision, we equally demand that government should be more empathetic and sensitive to the plight of our members and the very harsh economic situation of the time by giving us ample time to source for money to re-engineer all affected trucks and operations accordingly.

“We can assure you that none of the major transport companies across the country can continue any form of operations with this policy within this short time frame.

“In view of the above, we are therefore constraint to allow the decision of all our members to park their trucks as from September 22-23, 2020, prevail as a warning, and furthermore, issue 10 days ultimatum with effect from September 24, 2020 for a full-blown withdrawal of service. “

Othman said the sudden withdrawal of the trucks could lead to job losses and fuel scarcity.

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