A few months after it threatened to withdraw its services on account of bad roads, the petroleum tanker drivers (PTD); a branch of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has again cried out saying that nothing has been done to fix the roads.
According to the union, the issue of bad road has been the major cause of accidents involving its members and there is need for urgent action.
Speaking from its zonal council in Lagos, PTD’s assistant zonal secretary Lagos zone Mr. Femi Oyedepo told Shipping Position Weekly that apart from the constant harassment which its members suffer in the hands of operatives of the Lagos State Transport Management (LASTMA) and of which is presently being corrected, the bad roads in and outside the state is another problem the union is facing.
“Most of the roads in the country are very bad and it has become a headache for us in this union, our tankers tumble on the highway and all the products that is worth millions of Naira will spill away, this is because the driver might not be familiar with the different pot holes on these roads”, he stated.
Oyedepo also went further to say that sometimes the accidents occur as a result of reckless driving on the part of privately- owned vehicles, lamenting that in most cases, the tanker drivers are blamed. According to him, “sometimes, while on high speed, a car will step on the breaks without any consideration for the truck coming at the rear and because tankers do not operate the same break system as smaller vehicles, accident occurs”.
The PTD top man explained further that apart from the losses on account of spillages, such accidents involving PTD branch members do not lead to loss of human lives.
Recently, officials of Lagos state government alleged that most accidents are traceable to petroleum tanker drivers, the PTD secretary wondered why the state government could make such a general statement, saying that government should also look in the direction of drivers of container-laden trucks.
“Whenever a tanker is impounded, we are made to pay as much as N120.000”, while in the case of some dilapidated trucks, the owners just forget about bailing out because the cost is too much. On this, the union argued that it is trying its best in complying with the stipulated time of operation given by the government which is between the periods of five o’clock in the morning to 10 o’clock and between 4 o’clock in the afternoon to 10 o’ clock in the evening.