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Firm raises alarm over depot closure by PTD

Gulf Treasures Limited, a member of Danco Group, has appealed to relevant authorities including security agencies to prevail on the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) unit of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) over the unlawful closure of its bulk petroleum product storage depot, cutting off supply to its 25 filling stations in different parts of the country.

The company said the closure of the depot currently stocked with millions of liters of petroleum motor spirit (PMS) and automotive gas oil (AGO) poses safety risk to the neighbourhood.

It also noted that the jobs of about 700 of its employees nationwide are being threatened by the incessant closure of its operations by the union.

It Managing Director, Anamero Dekeri, in a statement, said the company’s bulk petroleum  storage depot,  located in Apapa, has been shut since September 14, 2020, over a conflict arising from the imposition of executives its (the company’s) drivers by the national leadership of the union

According to him, the crisis started a few weeks ago following a disagreement over the constitution of new executives of the branch of PTD at the depot. He alleged that the national leadership of the union, who had imposed their cronies on the company’s drivers for nine years, inaugurated a parallel executive committee at Ibadan, Oyo State.

The union, he said, has been working at cross purposes with the company, thus subjecting customers to all forms of hardship, extortion and assaults, which particularly climaxed in December 2017 when two of the officers imposed by the Union, the Unit Chairman, Salami Kehinde together with the Treasurer, Oyekanmi Ishola, a teacher by profession without any training or experience in tanker driving (both being respective candidates of the Zonal and the National Chairmen), ordered a customer to be beaten up for not paying an additional charge not previously known to the  depot or customers.

“This resulted in a protest by the drivers, disrupting social and commercial activities in the axis for the rest of that day. The cost of medical treatment of the maltreated customer was on our company while the aggressors smiled away under the protection of the principal. Again, the Union locked our depot for four days in 2017 (December 18 to 21). It took the intervention of the Department of State Services (DSS) for the depot to be reopened after we had lost millions of naira.

“We wrote to all the security formations in Lagos for their intervention to call the excesses of the unionists to order, whereupon the Police Area Commander called a meeting on 16th of September 2020, who, having listened to both parties, advised that the status quo remains pending the resolution of the crisis, which was mutually agreed.

“We are, however, shocked that the union has still kept our organisation under a siege, preventing supplies to our outlets. It is most pathetic that the Area commander called the new 18 executives yesterday, only to get them locked up in Panti, Yaba Police CID, over trumped-up allegations, with a condition to relinquish their rights before they could be released.”

“At this point, we have no option than to inform our employees nationwide that we can no longer meet our employment obligations under the present circumstances. They will need to stay at home for now till justice is served. We are losing about forty-two million (N42, 000,000) daily to this unlawful shutdown.

“We understand the pain this may cause our customers, employees and other stakeholders, but this is the most painful decision foisted on us by a union, and we are afraid it could thwart our decades of enduring sacrifice and hard work which is providing means of livelihoods to hundreds of families.”

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