• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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LASG, NUPENG disagree over N224m oil debt

NUPENG

Lagos State and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have disagreed over an alleged debt of N224 million arising from the contract of supplying diesel and kerosene, NUPENG claimed it entered into with the state in 2014 and 2015.

Members of the oil workers’ union on Tuesday besieged the Lagos State House of Assembly at Alausa to protest what they claimed is N224 million debt owed the union by the state government, from the contract of supplying petroleum product to Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) during the administration of the immediate past governor, Babatunde Fashola.

Tokunbo Korodo, the South-West zonal chairman of NUPENG, led the protesters. They were however addressed by Segun Olulade, member representing Epe 1 Constituency in the House, who received group’s petition in which they called on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to settle the debt.

Korodo said the N224 million debts arose from the supply of diesel and kerosene to the state for execution of direct labour projects in Ojodu between October 2014 and May 2015, and claimed that the contract was financed by Skye Bank and the bank had been asking for the repayment of the loan.

However, Steve Ayorinde, the commissioner for information and strategy, reacting to the union’s claim, said the state government would not be blackmailed into paying a questionable N224 million debt, saying the claim was fraudulent.

According to Ayorinde, “the said transaction took place between an independent marketer and the LSPWC before this present government assumed office. The company wrote the government about the transaction, and government replied that it wanted to investigate the claim.

“The investigation proved that the claim by the company was fraudulent, but while investigation was still ongoing, the company went to NUPENG, and the association agreed to demonstrate on behalf of the company.

“Our position is that the Lagos State government cannot be stampeded or blackmailed into making payments that have not been verified for which investigation is still ongoing. While government is not against peaceful protest by aggrieved citizens, we would like to urge Lagosians to go about their businesses peacefully.

“No amount of blackmail will stop the government from strictly following due process and rule of law.”