Posted by News Express | 28 August 2021 | 679 times
The Imo State Government has urged striking oil marketers and tanker drivers to suspend their action and follow due process in resolving whatever issue they may have with it. The State Government sees their action as illegal since the contentious matter of judgment debt is before the appeal court.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Emelumba, told a news conference on Friday in Owerri that what the oil marketers are doing amounts to blackmail and economic sabotage, reiterating that “government has reached out to them to ensure that the strike is called off.”
“We have initiated talks with them, but it is important for Nigerians to know that the matter for which they started this strike is still in court. In the eyes of the law, the strike is illegal.”
He disclosed that “the judgment which was obtained by a private firm, Sunaz Oil Nig. Ltd., against TIMIK Consult Ltd and Imo State Government, was done without the knowledge and legal representation from the government.”
Emelumba said that when the Rochas Okorocha administration demolished the filling station, the marketers restrained themselves from taking the law into their hands by not embarking on any illegal action. He noted that the affected dealer went to court, suggesting that the marketers believe in the rule of law.
“It is therefore surprising that the same people do not want the law to take its full course by embarking on an illegal action when the matter is still pending in the court of appeal,” he said.
The Commissioner noted that what government did was simply to appeal the judgment to understand its full import since it was the administration of Rochas Okorocha that carried out the act under consideration.
Emelumba said the government had since informed the oil marketers that it will not hesitate to pay the money in question should judgment from appeal go against it.
He said it is amazing that the owner of Sunaz Oil Nig. Ltd. took undue advantage of his relationship with tanker drivers to drag the union into a purely private matter that has nothing to do with the tanker drivers.
Said Emelumba: “It is surprising that the private company got the judgment in March 2021 this year. Government became aware of it only this July. Without even initiating the due process of execution, the oil marketers and tanker drivers embarked on strike. This is a premeditated blackmail and economic sabotage.”
Emelumba again reiterated the earlier call on the oil workers to immediately call off the strike for the interest of Imo citizens who are innocent victims of their ill-advised action.
He warned that government as an institution has a responsibility to protect the interest of the masses, particularly when undue hardship is inflicted upon them for no fault of theirs and emphasised that “there is a limit any person or group of persons can test the will of government in this regard.”
Emelumba continued: “Government will not continue to fold her arms and watch her citizens suffer for no justifiable reasons hence the appeal to well-meaning citizens of Imo State to talk to the oil marketers and tanker drivers to call-off their strike and allow Imo masses live their normal lives because the continued strike has in no small measure affected the economy of the state, negatively.”
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