The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) says it will embark on an indefinite nationwide strike on Wednesday or Thursday if the Federal government fails to pay subsidy arrears being owned petroleum marketers in the country.
The industrial action has been ongoing in Abuja since last week and has already partially paralysed business activities there. The union said it decided to commence the strike in Abuja alone so as not to impose hardship on generality of Nigerians during the Sallah celebrations.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos on Monday, President of NUPENG, Comrade Achese Igwe said the backlog of subsidy payments being owed marketers by the government is unacceptable to his union because the development posed a serious threat to his members who are in the employ of these marketers.
He also questioned the veracity of payments the government claimed it has effected and challenged them to publish the names of the beneficiaries.
Achese, who said the government is not sincere with the subsidy payment, criticized the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala’s statement that his union is being used by oil marketers.
He said his union will never be used by any group because they are stakeholders in the industry and added that the failure of the Minister to meet the NNPC and marketers’ payment obligation is a ploy to create hardship for Nigerians.
According to him: ’’This is a plan by them to put-up the refineries for privatization to their cronies at ridiculous rates.That is why we are asking the Minister for the rationale behind the selective payments of the subsidy claims if her hands are clean.
‘’We also state emphatically that if the government is sincere in its subsidy payments, without having an selfish interest, why are they not fully implementing the findings of the ad-hoc committee on subsidy set up by the House of Representatives? We are happy with the revelations of corrupt practices involving some Ministers in the whole exercise of selective payments’’.