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The strike called by oil tanker drivers in Nigeria yesterday ended just hours after it began, as the government quickly agreed to improve their wages and address their other grievances, such as the condition of the roads they drive on.
According to a source from the drivers’ union—the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers—the union called off the strike in the capital Abuja after the federal government “intervened and promised to look into the drivers' demands.”
A representative of the Nigerian National Oil Corporation, for his part, said that the head of the company had shaken hands with the union’s leader to increase the remuneration of tanker drivers.
When the strike was first announced yesterday, it sparked immediate concern that the event could lead to indefinite supply chain disruptions for the nation’s oil and gas industry, already under pressure after almost a year of attacks in the industry by several militant groups, most active among them the Niger Delta Avengers.
”It is nationwide and compliance is total - all tanker drivers across the nation are involved,” Cogent Ojobo, who chairs NUPENG for the region, said.
Meanwhile, it has become clear that President Buhari’s change of approach in the federal government’s dealings with the Delta militants has borne fruit, with Nigeria’s crude oil output rising to 1.68 million barrels daily, from 1.4 million bpd last August amid the frequent bombings.
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Initially, Buhari tried a forceful tactic—threatening militants that they would be dealt with by force and sending troops in the Delta. This, however, had the opposite effect, with more militant groups popping up in the oil-rich region and attacks on infrastructure becoming more frequent.
Last year, the government decided to try the path of negotiations. This seems to be working for now, as the local communities wait to see if the federal government will make good on its promises for billions in job-creating investments and payouts under an amnesty program for militants.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.