Fuel QUEUE 1The scarcity of petrol left thousands of motorists stranded in Abuja, Ibadan, Minna and other major cities on Tuesday as the three-day warning strike embarked upon by members of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers entered the second day.

In Abuja and Ibadan, most filling stations did not open for business, even when it was confirmed that they had products to sell.

However, the situation was different in Lagos as most filling stations in the metropolis dispensed petrol to motorists.

Commercial bus operators seized the opportunity to inflate transport fares, while touts capitalised on the development by selling the product in plastic jerry-cans at over 100 per cent of the actual cost.

A lot of motorists in the Federal Capital Territory spent Monday night on long queues at the few filling stations that opened for business earlier in the day.

Economic activities were virtually paralysed in many parts of Ibadan as most filling stations in the city remained closed in compliance with NUPENG directives.

The Oyo State branch of the union had vowed on Monday to penalise any of its members who failed to comply with the directive of the national secretariat.

Visits to some filling stations in the city showed that long queues had returned to most of the mega stations belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

Angry fuel seekers in Abuja, who spoke to one of our correspondents, urged the government to listen to the demands of the union, adding that Nigerians were suffering too much.

Mr. Joseph Tosin, a motorist on a queue at the Oando petrol station in Central Area, Abuja, said, “I read in the papers today and saw that what NUPENG is demanding is not bad. Why then is the government finding it difficult to listen to them? People are suffering in this town and this has increased since Monday.

“It is high time the government listened to Nigerians because if it fails to do so, it is calling for a mass revolt and it will surprise them when it will start.”

Another motorist, Thompson Ayodele, said, “I have been here for more than three hours, and I heard that some people slept here last night. Can you imagine that? Commuting has been very difficult and a lot of workers have been left stranded. This must not continue.”

Reacting to the development, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, said the government met with the union officials on Monday night.

He did not, however, say whether a resolution was reached to end the strike, but expressed optimism that the problem would soon be resolved.

Yakubu said, “The NNPC as a major stakeholder in this industry and the Ministry of Labour and other stakeholders have been working round the clock to address the issues.

“The issues, as we speak today, are being addressed, for we worked very hard last night to see how we can come to terms. I am also happy to note that the leadership of the union is reasonable in the discussion and I am optimistic that we will resolve all this.”

The National President, NUPENG, Mr. Achese Igwe, did not pick calls made to his telephone.

It was gathered that officials of the union were attending a meeting with the government as at the time of filing this report.