An industrial action by oil marketers commenced on Wednesday, because some of them were yet to be paid money for subsidized oil importation by the federal government.
A trip around the town by our correspondent revealed empty streets with most cars parked at petrol stations.
Most petrol stations were not dispensing fuel as they claim the union has refused any tanker from coming into Abuja.
The government halted the payments of subsidy claims following the indictment of some of the marketers by the fuel subsidy investigation committees.
However, the federal government on Wednesday confirmed that a total of N42 billion has been paid to 31 oil marketers between January and August, and that the intention of the indicted oil marketers is to blackmail government to avoid sanctions on crimes
According to the Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama, the oil marketers planning to embark on a strike are those who have been indicted by the Aig-Imoukhuede report on fuel subsidy payments.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has denied the government’s claim and alleged that officials of the Ministry of Finance are not telling Nigerians the truth.
Speaking at Channels Television’s studios in Abuja, the Chairman of the oil and gas branch of NUPENG, Benneth Korie, accused the Ministry of Finance of employing underhand tactics by insinuating that the oil workers’ strike is being instigated by blacklisted oil marketers.
Mr Korie explained that NUPENG’s industrial action is informed by the government’s failure to keep to its side of a bargain reached over payments to jetty and depot owners