NUPENG Threatens Nationwide Strike Over Deplorable Road Conditions - The Top Society

NUPENG Threatens Nationwide Strike Over Deplorable Road Conditions

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The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has issued a stern warning of a possible nationwide strike. The union’s grievance stems from the dire state of the Benin/Warri highway, which they assert played a pivotal role in a tragic petrol tanker accident on October 1st, resulting in the loss of five lives.

The accident, which occurred along the Ologbo segment of the Warri/Benin highway, also left numerous Nigerians with varying degrees of injuries. Additionally, a significant number of trucks and cars were involved in the incident, further compounding the tragic situation.

NUPENG has now raised the stakes, declaring their intent to mobilize their members for protests aimed at addressing the deplorable road conditions prevalent across the entire nation.
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In an official statement, the President of NUPENG, Williams Akporeha, and the General Secretary, Afolabi Olawale, expressed their deep concern and frustration regarding the situation. They emphasized the urgent need for action to rectify the road conditions, which have had a devastating impact on both safety and transportation in Nigeria.

The statement reads, “The leadership and members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers wish to express our deepest condolences with the families of our petroleum tanker drivers, the deceased, victims and members of the public on the unfortunate fatal accident that claimed the lives of tanker drivers and many other innocent Nigerians on October 1, 2023, along the Ologbo axis of Warri/Benin highway.

“This accident occurred as a result of the failed and deplorable condition of the Benin/Warri highway. Scores of persons were burnt to death, with many others sustaining serious injuries and lots of vehicles destroyed. The union is saddened by this unfortunate regular occurrence.

“We deeply commiserate with the families of our tanker drivers, other deceased and all those who lost one thing or the other as a result of the unfortunate accident.

“This was an avoidable and unfortunate tragedy that wouldn’t have happened if our political leaders weren’t so callous, irresponsible and insensitive to the plight of the ordinary masses they claim to be leading and representing.

“Without any doubt, this was an accident that waited so long to happen, and the leadership of our great union did so much to avert it. We spent workers’ hard-earned money to put hardcore stones and sands several times on many portions of this highway every year to make it passable for our members and other road users.

“We made several advocacy calls and campaigns for repairs of these roads and even issued threats of industrial actions to draw the attention of the relevant authorities to the tragic accident-in-waiting, yet no response until this happened.

“We even took the campaign for repairs of these roads into different federal and state Government Houses, even as recent as our visit to the governor of Delta State just two weeks ago, precisely on September 19, 2023.

”We make bold to say though these roads are federal roads, the accidents and tragedies like these are definitely local and state calamities.

“No governor or government officials should shed any crocodile tears in this matter. The blood of our tanker drivers, members and other people who died in this tragic accident is on their hands, especially the former minister of works and housing who spent eight years on the job without any meaningful improvement to the deplorable condition of the highways.

“This tragic accident that happened on our national independence day speaks volumes about our nation’s appreciation and commitment to the sanctity of human lives. Nigerians are being wasted every day through the callousness, insensitivity and negligence of those we entrusted our lives.
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“The leadership of the union finds it so disturbing, that in spite of the daily carnages recorded on Nigerian highways, the federal and state governments have remained insensitive to the plights and suffering of the poor masses that commute on these deplorable and failed highways on daily bases to convey goods and services.

“With this tragic incident, the union further demands that the federal and state governments should immediately commence the rehabilitation of all the failed roads in the country to save the poor masses from these avoidable experiences and deaths.

“We earnestly plead with the general public to bear with us, should we in the next couple of weeks decide to take some decisive steps towards making both the federal and state governments do the needful on our roads to avoid further similar tragedies and save lives and properties of other people.

“While we mourn those that died, we pray that God should grant members of their families and Nigerians the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

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