Wednesday, March 9, 2016 10:37 am
Acting General Secretary of PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa has revealed the reasons the workers decided to shut down the NNPC and Nigeria’s oil infrastructure this morning.
On Monday, Okugbawa provided the justification for today’s strike when he hinted in a press statement that the oil workers are fuming over government’s unbundling plans for the NNPC.
He also said the workers will ‘stoutly’ oppose the move.
Government dared the workers by announcing the unbundling on Tuesday. The new units are Upstream, Downstream, Gas & Power, Refineries, Ventures, Corporate Planning & Services and Finance & Accounts. They will run independently.
The chief executives of the new units are: Bello Rabiu (Upstream); Sa’idu Mohammed (Gas and Power); (Anibor Kragha) Refining; Henry Ikem-Obih (Downstream); Dr. Babatunde Victor Adeniran (Ventures). Others are Isiaka Abdulrazaq (Finance & Accounts) and Isa Inuwa (Corporate Planning & Services).
Okugbawa said the move would be tantamount to policy reversal by government.
“The unbundling plan will stave off investors from the nation’s oil and gas industry at this time when the nation needs foreign investment most to grow the industry, which currently is the mainstay of the economy,” Mr. Okugbawa said.
He accused the government of not considering existing laws establishing the NNPC before planning to unbundle the corporation.
“There is an existing NNPC Act of 1977 that set up the NNPC. This Act has many provisions that deal with structure and operations of the corporation.
“There are many issues such as pensions and transfer of the employees, provided for in the NNPC Act of 1977. What will happen to all these provisions of the law?” the PENGASSAN official asked.
For the government to restructure the NNPC, he said the Act must either be repealed, or amended, pointing out that if this was not done, the exercise would amount to lack of respect for the rule of law.
He said the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, expected to be the legal instrument for the ongoing reforms of the oil and gas industry, would be meaningless if government introduces plans outside the reforms.
“Any unilateral statement is capable of heating up the industrial climate and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” he said.
Thus the declaration of war in the night of Tuesday: “The GEC of NUPENG & PENGASSAN at its meeting of 8th March 2016, which started at 10:00pm has extensively discussed the pronouncement of the GMD on NNPC UNBUNDLING. We observed that the GMD/HMSP totally disregarded due process and failed to engage STAKEHOLDERS. Hence, from midnight today, ALL NNPC LOCATIONS will be SHUT DOWN COMPLETELY until further notice. Further directives will be communicated accordingly.”
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