From Uche Usim, Abuja

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has appealed to the petroleum tanker drivers to immediately shelve their planned strike in order not to further hurt the economy and Nigerians in general.

The drivers’ strike is intended to pressure the Nigerian government to immediately address the deplorable state of roads in various parts of the country which are used for the distribution of goods and services including petroleum products.

According to NNPC spokesman Garba Deen, while it is not the responsibility of the NNPC to build or rehabilitate roads, the national oil company reckons that any disruption in the distribution of petroleum products to different parts of Nigeria will adversely affect the business of the NNPC and endanger energy security, which the country has enjoyed in recent times.

‘In recognition of this, the NNPC wishes to assure the petroleum tanker drivers that, in addition to the ongoing efforts by other agencies of government, the NNPC has initiated a process that will provide a quick and effective solution to the road network challenges as expressed by the PTD,’ he stated.

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‘Having recognised that the major reason slowing down the rehabilitation of the road networks in the country is the paucity of funds, the NNPC has expressed interest to invest in the reconstruction of select Federal roads under the Federal Government’s Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Task Credit Scheme.

‘The thrust of the NNPC’s intervention is to make considerable funds available for the reconstruction of roads through its Future Tax Liability.

‘NNPC, as a responsible corporate entity recognises the legitimate concerns of the PTD, however, appeal to the leadership and members to reconsider their decision in the overall national interest.

‘Accordingly, we urge PTD to immediately call off the strike notice and give the current efforts by the government and its agencies a chance to solve the challenges in the interest of all.

‘We also wish to strongly advise Nigerians not to engage in panic buying of petroleum products as the NNPC has sufficient stock to last through this festive season and beyond,’ he said.