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Fuel scarcity: Let workers work from home —Ex-PENGASSAN president


A labour activist, Mr Peter Esele, on Friday, advised that the lingering fuel scarcity in the country be treated like the coronavirus pandemic. Esele, a former president of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Benin, Edo State.

He said that persons who could work from home as was done during the early days of coronavirus outbreak should be permitted to do so.

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“By this, I mean that government and employers who know their workers can work from home should allow them do so.

He also advised that as the scarcity persisted, if possible, the number of days that employees go to work should be reduced.

“These can serve as a temporary measure because, out there, it is really tough and the fares for transportation have increased, some by 100 per cent.

“This is also affecting productivity, because if you look at the faces of Nigerians at the various bus stops’ queues, you notice that everybody is angry.

“This is also affecting our mental health, because the pressure is just so much. “So, the government needs to find a way around everything,” he said.

While also advising Nigerians to only go out if extremely necessary and important, Esele called on the government to do everything to make the product Fuel scarcity: Let workers work from home —Ex-PENGASSAN president available.

“The government should also ensure that the actual price at the depot is what is paid. Because one of the major reasons for this scarcity is that most gas stations no longer sell fuel for N162.5 per liter. And this is because the ex-depot price has been increased. Now the question is who authorised such an increase?

“They are not supposed to carry out any increase, because subsidy payment is still being made,” the former PENGASSAN president said. He noted that although there were no products in many petrol stations, the black market was thriving due to availability of product to them.

Esele also identified racketeering as another major reason for petrol scarcity in the country.

He said that while some persons were moving the product out of the country others were selling the product at increased prices.

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“Racketeering is another reason this scarcity persists. There are some gas stations that sell as much as N200 per liter, some N185, and you start wondering why they are selling at that rate. “Then, there are a few selling for N165. This is where you find queues of cars stretching for as far as one kilometer. So, it is really tough.

“I am hoping that this gets out of the way as soon as possible and NNPC finds a solution to all these. “And my prayer again is that Dangote refinery comes up as soon as possible, because if you cannot meet your local consumption, you are held hostage. Right now, we are held hostage,” he stated.

Esele, also a former president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), further said that although the price of crude oil had increased to between $100 per barrel and $113 per barrel, Nigerians might not feel the benefit yet.

Nigerians subjected to artificial suffering —ASUP In the same vein, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) expressed concern over the current fuel scarcity, saying it has subjected Nigerians to artificial suffering.

This was contained in a communique after an executive council meeting of the Zone ‘A’ of the union in Dutse, Jigawa State. In the communique, made available to newsmen by the zonal publicity secretary, Basiru Yusuf, ASUP lamented that arbitrary fuel price hike and influx of off-spec petroleum products had crippled the social and economical activities of Nigerians.

According to communique, the level of inflation, worsened by incessant increase in electricity tariff and prices of commodities, is of great concern to the union. ASUP decried the insecurity which, it said, was sweeping through the country, particularly as it relates to disregard for the sanctity of life by criminals in the forms of rural banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, communal/ religious clashes and secessionist agitations.

It called on government at all levels to take decisive action to address all security challenges in Nigeria “because what obtains today directly affects academic activities, especially in northern Nigeria where some schools and colleges are closed”.

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