Petrol Truck Driver Strike

Yes, there are a couple of things that can bring this city to a stand still and cause absolute traffic chaos. One would think that 17 million people in Lagos, alone, could have that effect, or a flooding downpour would certainly do it,  However, this situation trumps all – a Petrol Truck Driver’s strike!  After the Petrol (Gasoline) truck drivers went on strike Friday morning, (11 July 2008), street chaos descended on the town.  That is because everyone was uncertain how long the strike would last. The driving public began to queue for gas, creating long lines down the lanes of the streets.  Gas station owners responded by blocking their driveways, only allowing a few drivers on the premises at a time.  Enterprising young men with hand carts containing 25 liter jugs jumped in line to fill them up and then sell the fuel on the black street market.  And so, by Saturday, the lines were down the street and around the corners and in some areas barely allowing room for cars to move by.  Drivers were in their cars, motors off, just sitting and waiting for their turn at the pumps.  By mid-day Saturday, most of the stations were barricading their driveways as they were now out of gas.  So how did we get around?  Well, we were in a company car and/or transport van.  Shell has its own gasoline supply, and is not dependent on the truck drivers.  However, in August we will receive our car and will be just like everyone else – sending our driver out to queue for gas if there is another strike.  It particularly affected the service people trying to get to work ,because even the public buses were short on fuel.  It usually cost our driver 100N, ($0.85), to get to work in the mornings, but by Monday the cost was up to 400N to obtain a spot on the same bus.  Finally, on Monday around 10am, the government negotiated a settlement, and strike was over. Our driver predicted that by Tuesday afternoon things would be back to normal, and he was correct, (as usual).  Just another week in “the big city”!