Federal Government/Okonjo-Iweala vs. NUPENG

The Federal Government, yesterday, lambasted the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, describing the union as anti-Nigerians over its insistence to embark on nationwide strike from Friday unless oil marketers are paid their subsidy claims.

The union said that only the payment of subsidy claims to verified oil marketers by the Federal Government would avert the planned nationwide strike from Friday as leaders of the union meet with Government today to find solution to the lingering dispute.

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday, said that NUPENG was collaborating with the wrong people, referring to the fuel subsidy cabal that has been milking Nigerians of billions of Naira in the past years.

According to her, “NUPENG is anti-Nigerians. NUPENG is siding with the wrong people. There is no reason for NUPENG to hold Nigerians to ransom on behalf of people who have been taking public money for fuel they did not supply.”

The minister who has been meeting several stakeholders in the oil industry said that NUPENG was working for the interests of corrupt people.

She said that if NUPENG was interested in the welfare of Nigerians and the nation’s economy, it would join forces with government in stopping the impunity that has been associated with subsidy corruption which has even attracted public outcry.

She explained that a lot of progress has been made from the discussions between the federal government team and the oil marketers who have agreed to work with the government towards an efficient and transparent fuel distribution system, adding that the current administration will always insist on transparency in the interest of Nigerians. She, therefore, urged the public to stand with the government on this matter.

The Group Managing Director, GMD, of the NNPC, Engr. Andrew Yakubu who also spoke with Vanguard confirmed that the corporation’s branch of NUPENG did not join the strike that crippled fuel distribution in Abuja in the last five days. He said that the claim that the union was striking on behalf of NNPC was not true.