In the past week, petrol stations in Rivers State ran dry of refined petroleum products, notably Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise called petrol. As a result, movement of people, goods and services suffered great dislocation in a manner that evoked memories of seasons of foregone scarcity of petroleum products. Tanker drivers who haul the products went on strike.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Rivers State is glad that that avoidable injury to the people’s wellbeing has come to an end. Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s role in this resolution deserves mention. Until the strike undertaken by the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union, PTU, wing of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, in Port Harcourt was called-off, the haulage of the products suffered greatly. The Pipeline Products and Marketing Company Limited, PPMC, major and independent oil marketing companies had sufficient products in their tank farms for distribution. Genuine fear of scarcity was not really there.
The Peoples Democratic Party believes that the state government’s Urban Renewal programme represents the desires of the people of Rivers state, and its drive to restore order on the streets of the state capital is both genuine and in the supreme interest of the general population. The government’s desire is that streets be free for traffic and that all laws governing road use be obeyed by everyone. The state government has expended billions of naira in road construction with road signs to make driving enjoyable.
The Ministry of Urban Development and Planning had requested for sanity along the Abonnema Wharf axis of Port Harcourt where often tanker drivers dislodge smooth flow of traffic due to uncontrolled parking of petroleum tankers. The aspect of this eye sore is that government does not want to continue is the mass parking of tankers even when it is not yet their turn to lift petroleum products.
The government also desires unhindered distribution of petroleum products in Rivers state hence Governor Amaechi on Wednesday re-inaugurated the Petroleum Products Monitoring Committee, all part of its genuine intention to oversee smooth haulage and distribution of petrol and its other like-products.
The Ministry of Urban Development and Planning’s position is that order should be devised where rather than block free flow of traffic, only tanker drivers whose loading tickets are ready and would drive straight into the loading bay should drive down to Abonnema Wharf; or park neatly along its walk-way while waiting to be called in to load. But the current order where every tanker parks on that road for days is untidy, lawless and portends the tanker drivers as averse to sanity.
The Rivers State Government has provided alternative parking lots where tanker drivers can park and wait for their turns.
We thank Governor Amaechi, the leadership of the tanker drivers union and all concerned stakeholders who intervened to end the strike. The current administration in the state means well for the people and should be supported. The time to do that is now.
PDP Pub Sec.