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Fuel Transporters Make U-Turn On Strike As FG Intervenes

Strike

The about two-day suspension of operations with respect to the lifting of petroleum products by the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners has been called off by the oil transporters.

NARTO confirmed this in Abuja on Tuesday evening after the intervention of the Federal Government through the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri.

Lokpobiri as well as the President, NARTO, Yusuf Othman, told journalists that stakeholders in the downstream oil sector had reached an agreement to increase the freight rate of petroleum transporters, and to gradually settle other concerns raised by the tanker operators.

Aside from the minister and his team, and NARTO officials, other participants at the meeting in Abuja include officials of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, led by their Chief Executive, Farouk Ahmed; representatives of the Major Energy Marketers Association of Nigeria; Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria; and others.

The meeting among parties had been ongoing since Monday. Participants could not reach an agreement on Monday, and had to continue on Tuesday before resolving to meet some of the demands of NARTO.

“We have reached some agreements and members of NARTO have agreed to resume operations so as to reduce the plight faced by Nigerians with respect to getting petroleum products,” Lokpobiri stated.

The two-day suspension of operations by NARTO led to fuel queues by motorists in many states and the Federal Capital Territory on Monday and Tuesday.

It was earlier reported that Nigeria might witness another round of fuel scarcity as NARTO had vowed to stop lifting petroleum products beginning from Monday due to the high cost of operations.

NARTO members have repeatedly raised concern over the high cost of diesel required to power their trucks for the transportation of petroleum products across the country.

Oil marketers had told our correspondent on Thursday that diesel price was between N1,250 to N1,400/litre depending on the area of purchase.

NARTO’s President, Yusuf Othman, had in a statement he issued in Abuja on Thursday, said the statement was an official announcement from the association’s headquarters that members of the group would park their trucks from Monday.

“Why? It is because what we spend on operations is more than what we get in total, both in local and bridging,” he stated.

But after the meeting on Tuesday, he confirmed that the strike by the association had been called off, and urged NARTO members to resume operations.

“The suspension of operations has been called off because we have reached some agreements and there is going to be improvement in our freight rate going forward. So we urge our members to resume operations to reduce the plights of Nigerians,” Othman stated.