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Nigerian Tanker Drivers Mull NUPENG Breakaway

Nigerian tanker drivers threaten to leave NUPENG

by Victor Adetimilehin

The Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has recently issued a bold statement threatening to secede from the parent union. This announcement comes amid escalating tensions within the organization, particularly targeting NUPENG’s leadership.

In a statement issued in Abuja, PTD representatives Gbenga Olawale and Adekunle Rufai from the Ibadan Depot expressed their dissatisfaction with the current NUPENG leadership. They particularly called for the resignation of NUPENG’s National President, Williams Akporeha, and its General Secretary, Olawale Afolabi. The tanker drivers accused Akporeha of lacking the necessary qualifications and competence to lead, alleging that he was previously a cook in an oil company and was not a formal member of the oil union.

The drivers’ discontent stems from what they perceive as leadership’s failure to adequately represent their interests and the alleged financial mismanagement within the union. They accuse Akporeha of placing his surrogates in key positions to control the union’s revenue for personal gain.

In a symbolic demonstration of their protest, the tanker drivers adorned their trucks with leaves and warned against any interference or harassment from NUPENG and the police, particularly towards their leaders. This protest action, spanning across the country, signifies a deepening rift within the union.

However, the NUPENG secretary, Olawale Afolabi, countered these claims, stating that the faction making these allegations does not represent the official PTD members. Afolabi further revealed that the leaders of this faction had been arrested and detained in Kuje prison, Abuja, following an altercation in Abuja.

This internal conflict within NUPENG reflects broader challenges within Nigeria’s labor unions, particularly in sectors critical to the nation’s economy like petroleum. It underscores the need for transparent and accountable leadership within labor organizations, a requirement critical for maintaining unity and effectively advocating for workers’ rights.

As Nigeria continues to grapple with various economic and labor issues, the situation within NUPENG offers a stark reminder of the importance of strong, legitimate union leadership. It also highlights the growing need for reconciliation and unity within labor movements to effectively champion the causes of workers in challenging economic climates.

The resolution of this dispute could serve as a catalyst for positive change within labor unions in Nigeria, paving the way for more accountable and representative leadership, ultimately benefiting the workers they are meant to serve.


Source: Punch

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