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Published On: Tue, Feb 6th, 2018

Fashola to NUPENG, NARTO: Strike action must not be last option

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By Mashe Umaru Gwamna

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has told the leadership of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) that strike actions must be the last option when problems arises .
“Each time there is an issue of concern which needed Federal Government intervention, strike action should be the last available option”.
Fashloa made the disclosure during a courtesy call by the unions in Abuja while reacting to complains of bad roads and abandoned road project including collapsed bridge in Tatabu, Mokwa Council Area, linking Northern and western part of the country.
The Minister assured the unions that the road project will be completed before December 2018, adding that an alternative road has been constructed pending completion of the project.
“The Tatabu road failed because of age and also ecological factor. Rain fell and it destroyed the bridge. We have seen that in Texas, California, they didn’t go on strike. It was an ecological problem, that is nature.
“We responded. The road is blocked and it was within that period that the contractor had to move in his equipment. He has created a temporary route while reconstructing the bridge. Before end of the year, that bridge will be completed, you will have your way back.”
He also mentioned some attribute to road problems to severe weather conditions and transportation of excess goods such as iron rods, heavy machineries and high tonnage materials.
Fashola maintained that prior to the meeting, the ministry had planned to organise a workshop where all issues regarding the sector and other matters of concern to the union was to be discussed.
Fashola added that the ministry could meet with the union quarterly so as to effectively address all the lingering problems confronting the sector and also present government policies on the sector.
However, he denied claims of corrupt practices in road projects execution.
Earlier, NARTO National President, Dr. Kassim Ibrahim lauded the federal government for different road projects across the country.
Ibrahim further admitted that truck overloading has been a major cause of road damage, aside from poor road design and construction, poor road maintenance and use of low quality materials for construction.
He urged the federal government to improve funding to the road sector while encouraging Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to collectively develop the sector.
However, the National President presented on behalf of both union recommendations to the Minister which include ban on importation of 60,000 liters capacity tanks.
He said trucks of 45, 000 liters should be adopted as maximum capacity to be allowed on roads across the country, adding that all tank manufacturers and fabricators should be warned against construction of truck body above 50,000 litres capacity.
Meanwhile, the PTD Chairman, Otunba Oladiti urged the federal government to expedite action on the Mokwa-Jabba roads.
Oladiti emphasised the need for a palliative measure for the benefit of the truck drivers while the Minister assured of his commitment to call the contractor to action.

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