There may be looming fuel scarcity following the indefinite strike embarked upon by oil workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on Monday.
The union said the strike is due to issues related to Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and other sundry issues.
Our reporters already observed the build-up in queues in fuel stations within Abuja while some stations have completely shut down saying they are out of stock.
The nation’s capital was only recovering from fuel scarcity caused recently by the lack of loading of products especially from Lagos due to the EndSARS protest.
President of PENGASSAN, Festus Osifo, while featuring on Channels Television’s morning show: ‘Sunrise Daily’, which was monitored by our correspondent, argued that there was nothing wrong with GIFMIS platform being used to pay salaries and emoluments of his members, accused the government of coercing his members to enroll on the platform without prior demonstration of the platform for them.
“Today (Monday), members of PENGASSAN have commenced strike, and letters have been sent to zonal levels for our members to commence strike starting from today and to monitor its compliance following the government’s failure to meet our yearnings.
“We have exhausted all our diplomatic means to resolve the issue. We sent different letters to all the concerned stakeholders including the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige but it doesn’t seem they are ready. We appeal to Nigerians to bear with us while the strike lasts,” Osifo said.
A few hours later, the order to commence strike surfaced in a letter dated November 8, 2020, and signed by the General Secretary, PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa.
It was also copied to the Central Working Committee members of the association.
The letter partly read, “We refer to the above letter dated November 2, 2020, where we gave seven days ultimatum and a further extension to the relevant government agencies and institutions.
“In view of the above and with the expiration of the ultimatum and subsequent extension, you are hereby advised to withdraw services effective 12 midnight on Sunday, November 8, 2020.”
The association directed the branch chairmen to ensure that their members fully comply with the directive, adding that the chairmen should await further directive.
Meanwhile, Prof. Ifeanyi Onyeonoru of the University of Ibadan, said the introduction of the IPPIS for some people and MDAs while leaving some MDAs to operate without the platform will hurt the system.
A motorist in Abuja, Ahmed Salihu, said, “If they are joking with the rumour I am hearing about fuel or so, they should stop it because the kind of hardship we are already passing through is unbearable. This government should be serious for once and work for the masses as they promised rather inflicting more pain on us.”