OIL WORKERS’ STRIKE: Senate Warns FG

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The Upper House of the Nigerian National Assembly, the Senate, has urged the Federal Government to pay outstanding fuel subsidy arrears to oil marketers to avoid a strike action.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Senator Kabiru Marafa, gave the warning on Thursday following a motion moved by Marafa at plenary.

While moving the motion, The Committee Chairman said there was an urgent need to avert the looming strike due to the non-payment of accrued subsidy arrears to the oil marketers.

Major petroleum marketers had on November 30, threatened to go on nationwide strike if government fails to pay the money owed them.

The marketers include Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, and Independent Petroleum Products Importers.

They gave the Federal Government seven-day ultimatum, saying they would cease operations and withdraw their employees from all depots across the country at the expiration of the ultimatum.

Marafa further said that, if not averted, the strike might lead to artificial fuel scarcity, which might last through the election period.

He prayed the Senate to urge the Federal Government to urgently direct all concerned agencies to immediately pay the subsidy arrears as approved by the Federal Executive Council.

In the same vein, Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, who blamed the situation on previous government, alleged that those who are laying claim to the subsidy were allies of the previous administration.

In counter arguments however, Senator Ibrahim Danbaba (PDP-Sokoto) alleged that those within the incumbent government are the ones sabotaging the process, adding that the matter had gone beyond National Assembly’s input.

In his remarks, the Deputy President of the Senate, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, urged the Federal Government to engage the marketers.

He called on the Federal Government to “agree on outstanding liabilities to put an end to the subsidy claims.”

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