kicking against the federal government’s recent ban on all petroleum trucks above 45000 litres capacity from plying Nigerian roads, the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) is mobilizing its members to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike, beginning from the 4th of October 2020, an action that could lead to resurfacing of the dreaded petrol queues across the country.
As a warning, the association had already ordered petrol tanker drivers to stay off the road from 22nd to 23rd September, 2020 (Tuesday and Wednesday).
NARTO is the umbrella organization of all commercial vehicles owners in Nigeria engaged in the haulage of petroleum products, general cargoes, and movement of goods and passengers within the country and the West-African sub-region.
Briefing the press in Abuja on Tuesday, NARTO’s national president, Yusuf Othman, attributed his association’s action to what he described as the federal government’s insensitive manner of issuing the recent ban.
He said: “NARTO received with grave shock the recent government decision to place immediate ban on all petroleum trucks above 45000 litres capacity from plying Nigerian roads.
“The sudden ban was highly insensitive and unappreciated of the efforts of NARTO members in the sensitive distribution and supply chain of petroleum products across the country.”
According to Othman, none of the major transport companies across the country could continue any form of operations with the policy within the very short time frame.
“If the ban was not lifted,” he warned, “the association would begin a full blown industrial action. In view of the above, we are therefore constrained to allow the decision of all our members to park their trucks as from tomorrow, 22nd and 23rd September, 2020, to prevail as warning. And furthermore issue 10-day ultimatum with effect from 24th September, 2020 for a full nblown withdrawal of service.”
“If such scenarios occur, we earnestly plead with those who may lose employment, income and the general public, who may bee negatively affected by this avoidable situation.”
NARTO’s National president said the propose strike does not mean his members were against the government’s decision to ban the use of trucks that is more than 45000 litres capacity in the conveyance of petroleum products considering the dilapidated state of the Nigerian roads. However, in his view, the ban would be counterproductive, as the sudden withdrawal of these trucks would impact heavily and negatively on the operations of members leading to job losses of about 40,000 people and cause petrol scarcity.
“But NARTO,” he argued, “is particularly concerned about the sudden and prompt nature of the ban. We consider the approach to be highly insensitive to the huge investments the owners of these trucks have made and debts they have incurred in executing the mandate given by previous administration.”
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