Petroleum marketers, tanker drivers suspend strike in Anambra

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Economic activities came back to life in Anambra State on Saturday following the suspension of the strike by petroleum marketers and the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association in the state.

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The Chairman of the Petroleum Dealers Association in Anambra, Osita Ofodile, told newsmen in Onitsha on Saturday that the suspension followed a meeting which resolved the dispute.

The drivers’ group started the strike on September 26 and was joined by the dealers on September 29, resulting to the hike in fuel price in the state.

Ofodile explained that the suspension and reopening of filling stations followed the intervention of the state government to pay the N5 million damages caused by officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

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Ofodile said: “We have called-off the strike which was triggered by the overzealousness of civil defence officials in Ihiala sometime in May where they caused one of our tankers with kerosene to fall.

“They had demanded the loading bill which the driver provided but because he refused to give them other demands, they began to harass, slap and drag him until the tanker rolled back from a hill and fell.”

He said that the organisation demanded for the settlement of the damages from the civil defence and the state government but nothing was done.

Ofodile said, however, that the state government had agreed to pay for the damages within one month after which a failure will result in another strike.

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He said that the meeting was attended by top official of the state government, the civil defence, independent petroleum marketers and the associations.

Reacting, the Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in the state, Godwin Omoregie, said the dispute between his agency and the petroleum dealers had been resolved by the state government.

Omoregie, however, denied the allegations that his men killed a driver and attempted to collect bribe from the driver of the articulated vehicle in Ihiala in May.

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He argued that the tanker driver failed to produce his loading bill when the incident occurred.

Only NNPC filling stations sold fuel during the strike, while petrol had sold for between N300 and N350 per litre in the black market.

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