Transport unions in Ekiti State on Wednesday protested in the state capital, Ado-Ekiti, accusing oil dealers of being sponsored by the opposition.
The unions gave the oil dealers 24 hours to return to call off the strike or face the
wrath of the Ekiti populace, which they said had been badly affected by the halt of fuel supply to the state.
The protest comes one day after angry youths damaged filling stations in protest against the lingering strike declared by oil marketers in the state.
Fuel marketers in the state had since Monday last week stopped selling fuel to motorists in compliance with the directives of the leadership of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG)and Petrol Tanker Drivers (PTD), which ordered their members in Ekiti to stop bringing the product to the state.
The marketers had embarked on the indefinite strike over what they described as open victimszation of members by Governor Ayodele Fayose.
However, the drivers and artisans, who marched from Fajuyi area via Ojumose to Old garage, claimed that they were the worst hit by the strike.
They were led by the Chairmen of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Mr Clement Adekola, and his counterpart in Lorry and Pick-up Transport Association of Nigeria, Com Adekunle
Adekola said, “We are for peace in Ekiti and the only way to sustain peace is for all of us to work with the government of the day. Let the oil marketers dialogue with government and if they can’t do it alone,
they should contact other unions for speedy arbitration.
“The drivers and artisans are badly affected. Even most worrisome was the way the police had been maltreating our members who used to buy fuel from Ondo, Osun and Kogi States. They stopped them at checkpoints and dehumanised them, this must not continue.”
He said the transport unions would continue to protest until the marketers suspend their strike.
“We suspect that they have been bought over by opposition to destabilise Fayose’s government. We believe that their resolve not to sell fuel during General Adeyinka Adebayo’s burial was purely political,” Adekola said.
“They are not politicians and if they are interested in contesting the election, let them wait till 2018 when the governor’s tenure will elapse.”
Atowoju, who also accused the marketers of being spurred on by the opposition, said the issue in contention was flimsy.
He said, “All over the world, there are rules and regulations guiding where fuel stations are located. The last fire incident at Strive Energy Petrol station in Ijigbo in Ado Ekiti destroyed multi-million properties and no compensations were given to the victims. Must this continue?
“There are problems of economic recession, unemployment and general disillusionment in Nigeria and our oil marketers should not aggravate our sufferings here in Ekiti.”