The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has told the Federal Government to “think outside the box,” to end the persistent fuel scarcity in Nigeria.

The President of the Union, Mr Igwe Achese, told labour correspondents in Lagos yesterday that government must resort to paradigm shift to resolve the energy crisis which had plagued Nigeria for decades.

Nigeria is Africa’s top crude oil producer but a combination of factors has thrown up complex problems, including scarcity of gasoline that has left the population at the receiving end.

“Government should realise that NNPC alone cannot sustain petroleum supply in the country,” Achese stated.

He warned that NUPENG would shut down the oil sector if petroleum marketers went ahead to sack their workers, referring to a threat by another oil sector union to down-size about 10,000 workers.

The labour chief, who spoke to reporters after a meeting of NUPENG Elders Stakeholders, warned that the Union would respond to any threat to its members.

He said that NUPENG would be at the receiving end of the problem if the grievances of oil marketers were not promptly addressed.

“The problem will not only affect workers but tanker drivers; hence if it happens, we will react to protect our members,” Achese warned.

“We have always said that for fuel crisis to end in the country, our refineries must return to full stream. If we are importing fuel that should only be a stop gap.”

The Unionist restated that the option of modular refineries should be given special thought, pointing out that government should ensure that those given licences commenced operations immediately.

On February. 20, the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) gave the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum to pay N650 billion owed its members.

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