Two persons have been hit after police deployed to maintain law and order at Tema Oil Refinery(TOR) in Greater Accra region fired tear gas indiscriminately and warning shots to disperse irate members of the Ghana National Petroleum Drivers Union.
Two persons were injured in the process with some executives and members of the Union arrested.
The fully armed police personnel alongside their national security counterparts at the frontage of TOR went hard on the drivers who were preventing their colleague gas tanker drivers from loading products at TOR.
The irate members of the Union see the action by the gas tanker drivers as betrayal of trust after having agreed to go on a sit-down strike today.
The Union had earlier agreed to embark on a sit-down strike to protest unfair treatment meted out to them by National Petroleum Authority (NPA), transporters(owners of the tankers) and other stakeholders.
Whiles at it, the gas tanker drivers decided to load product at TOR but this did not go down well with other members of the Union.
The drivers were infuriated when a person believed to be a national security operative pulled a gun to prevent the drivers from venting their spleen of anger but this however failed.
The handful of police personnel around called for reinforcement and this changed the face of the situation.
David Konadu who is the Treasurer of Ghana National Petroleum Drivers Union and some members were arrested amidst firing of tear gas and warning shots.
Chairman of Ghana National Petroleum Drivers Union, George Nyaunu was appalled by the behaviour of the police.
“If the government has sent these guys here to come and harass us, then we live to see. If you want to calm the situation is this the best way to do it?” he asked.
Members of the Union said they will continue to push until their demands are met.
Meanwhile, Tema Regional Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Joseph Darkwa said the use of force by the police became necessary after the angry drivers pelted stones at them.
“We were here to maintain law and order and protect TOR which a strategic national facility. The use of force was the only way to restore order,” he said.
Public Affairs Manager at TOR, Dr. Kingsley Antwi-Boasiako distanced the management and workers of the company from what had happened.
“The issue was between the tanker drivers and the police and TOR has nothing to do with the chaotic nature of the event. We have products that the drivers could load but it is unfortunate things have turned this way,” he indicated.
The use of an Energy Commission manual which regulates transportation and delivery of petroleum products, regularized salary among other benefits have been on the table for years with little or no response to tanker drivers’ plight.