Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, have appealed to the federal government to checkmate the excesses of Naval officers at Apapa loading depots in Lagos, in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption.
This was contained in a statement issued and signed by Mr. Salmon Oladiti, PTD National Chairman, an arm of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG.
According to the statement, the operations of the Naval officers have not only been impeding the loading of oil and free flow of traffic but also cause the untimely death of drivers.
It said, “Navy illegal operations are the major problems of tanker drivers, there are so much extortions, harassment and beating of our members who fail to meet their demand.
“We want the activities of the Navy to be checked, they are not trained to be controlling traffic. Their activities are affecting our operations.
“We have recorded two deaths now; we don’t want more people to die due to their extortions and illegal operations. We want them to be withdrawn from the road.
“In fact, most of the gridlock in Apapa area are caused by the activities of the Navy who will not allow our members to pass without paying them.
“Those that were unable to meet their demands faced stringent punishment and harassment.
“Just as one of us, Comrade Abbass Salmon, a motor boy, was crushed to death on Oct. 1 on Kirikiri Bridge after being stoned by a naval officer because the driver of the truck refused to pay Navy demands.
“The driver, Mr. Ibrahim Kasali is currently on admission in the hospital, if our members are not safe, we will leave the depot and tank farms for the Navy.
“Our members are scared seeing the Navy with guns now, we can be orderly without them, their activities may soon cause fuel scarcity as some of our members outside Lagos do not want to come to load at the Apapa depots again,’’ the statement said.
According to it, the union has a formidable task force team capable of creating orderliness at the Apapa depots.
“PTD has a taskforce that monitor major loading points and tank farms, we are organised and we will maintain law and order in the area.
“Most trucks that are not even programmed to load by the union were allowed to drive in to load by Naval officers to distort the orderliness because of gains of corrupt practices,” it said.
The statement said the union taskforce were respected more than all other security agents as against the confusion being created by Navy officials at the depots.
It said one Adekunle Ogene, the naval officer that led to the death of one of the union members and almost caused the death of another on Oct. 1, should be prosecuted.
It called on the Nigerian Navy to compensate the family of the tanker driver who lost his life to the nefarious activities of a Naval officer, stressing that the victim was the bread winner of the family.
It also urged the Nigerian Navy to pay the medical bill of another victim, Kasali, who was hospitalised and called a stakeholders’ meeting to prevent future occurrence.
The statement urged the members of the union to be law abiding and assured drivers dreading Lagos of safety.