By Salawudeen Olawale
The Petroleum Dealers Association of Nigeria in Ekiti State on Tuesday announced the suspension of its indefinite strike declared on Monday to protest against the state government’s policy.
This followed an intervention by the Commissioners of Police, Abdullahi Chafe, and some traditional rulers including the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe.
The meeting with the police commissioner took place in the morning before the petrol dealers moved to the king’s palace for another meeting.
The dealers had declared the strike to protest against the state government’s move to revoke the Certificates of Occupancy granted to their members.
Governor Ayodele Fayose had on Saturday placed a ban on the construction of filling stations in residential areas, even by those that had got the approval for such project.
The governor noted that victims of fire accidents in the past were never compensated by owners of filling stations.
Consequently, he announced that all past approvals for existing stations in residential areas as well as those newly granted for those under construction, including their C of O’s had become revoked and of no use with immediate effect.
Confirming the development, the secretary of PEDAN, Alhaji Suleiman Akinbami, clarified that the strike was merely suspended to allow for peaceful resolution.
He added that the association would resume the strike if the state government still went ahead to implement its threat to revoke approvals made in respect of fuel stations built in residential areas.
As of the time of filing this story, some filling stations in the state capital had reopened for business.
Meanwhile, the governor has vowed not to reverse his decision to revoke the Cs of O of filling stations built within residential areas.
He stated this in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday while reacting to the decision of the petrol dealers to suspend the strike.
Fayose, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi, disclosed that his administration would not succumb to subtle blackmail but stick to policies aimed at protecting the lives and properties of the people of the state.
The statement quoted him as saying, “If they like, let them go on with their strike’’.
We won’t compromise standards. We won’t also allow anybody to jeopardise the lives and properties of our people under the guise of conducting their own businesses. The other time we made our stance known on the herdsmen’s menace, we all saw the results.
“Filling stations located in residential areas won’t be allowed to function. Some petrol stations under construction in locations not approved will be taken over by the government.”