The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers has threatened to embark on an industrial action over what it termed an alleged extortion of its members by security agents on the roads.
The President of the union, Williams Akporeha relayed this threat in his address after the virtual National Executive Council meeting held on Thursday.
The union leader who commended its members made up of workers in the petroleum sector, noted that they had made huge sacrifices in put their lives on the line to ensure the economy kept running even in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Akporeha lamented that while some major oil companies and local oil-servicing firms had also maltreated union members by not giving them their emoluments and salaries, while security agents on the roads, checking inter-state lockdown, had continued to extort petroleum tanker drivers.
He said some members had in the course of carrying out their duties had been infected by the coronavirus while some others had paid the supreme price.
Akporeha noted that the Federal Government must act swiftly to curtail banditry in the Northwest region, while it must equally fix the deplorable roads across the country.
He said, “Most of the nation’s highways are becoming death traps for our members, especially the highways in the Calabar-Itu-Uyo, Port-harcourt – Aba, Mokwa-Jebba – Kaduna, Port-Harcourt – Owerri, Warri-Benin-Auchi-Okene-Lokoja stretch of the country.
“The issue of bad roads is further compounded by the various security agencies who now set up multiple checkpoints on these deplorable roads to further exploit and extort motorists.
“Petroleum tanker drivers are the worst hit by the exploitative tendencies of these unscrupulous security agencies.
“The brazen extortion of our members, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic was really disconcerting and unfortunate.
“As a union, we cannot continue to fold our hands and watch our members, who toil day and night, in the rain, cold and sunshine to make our economy grow to keep suffering like this.
In the light of the above, we are giving the Federal Government a two-week ultimatum to commence total rehabilitation of these roads to save lives and properties.
“Immediately address the issue of multiple road blocks and extortion from all its security agents mainly, the army, police, and civil defence corps.
“If not addressed, we may be forced to embark on a serious industrial action to drive home our case. Enough is enough of these molestation, harassment, exploitation and extortion by these uniformed men.