NUPENG decries ‘unfair’ media attack

13 September 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – THE National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has decried what it described as unfair media reports against the union over its insistence on subsidy payment to oil marketers.

Maintaining that the reports were intended to malign it, the union insisted that all actions taken by it on the issue were in the interest of members.

NUPENG’s acting General Secretary, Comrade Isaac Aberare, said in a statement in Lagos: “We decided to embark on that action to protect the interest of our members who were owed five months salaries and whose jobs were on the line, plus other nagging issues affecting the oil and gas industry.

“The union did not set out to protect the interest of indicted oil marketers as we have always stated that those found culpable be made to face the wrath of the law. We made it clear earlier that the union supports the report of the adhoc committee of the House of Representatives on the oil subsidy scam.

“Our action was not therefore self-serving and we don’t just embark on strike actions because of the advantage of our strategic role in the industry to cause economic disruptions as you declared.

“We are often pushed to the wall to issue these threats, when all entreaties fail. Our position has always been that we are open for social dialogue on these issues, of which memoranda of understanding, MoU, had been signed over-time but no action. But when we threaten or go strike for implementation of the agreements signed, NUPENG is blamed”.

He added that NUPENG is a union that cannot be used by anybody, including even the government.

The statement further read: “When the union raised alarm that brief-case carriers were being issued import licenses in PPPRA, nobody took us seriously, until the whole scam blew open. We have been telling government to repair roads to stop the carnage of petroleum tankers spilling fuel, nobody is talking.

“Refineries are not working, hence the massive importation, and its only NUPENG that is shouting and yet being condemned. NUPENG is crying out that crude oil meant for refineries are sold in the open market. Nobody is investigating, not even the press but what we get is condemnation.

“The nation’s economy is in tatters but when we sneeze, we are blackmailed. We mean well for this country, that is why the struggle must continue.”

“The union cannot compromise the welfare of its members, as our traditional role is to protect their interest. How come these dubious payments were made?
It takes two to tango. These are the issues that should be thoroughly investigated, by the press and security agencies.

“We are always on the side of the truth, justice and fair-play. We implore you to use your good office to publish our reaction in your well read newspaper because our struggle has never been self –serving but purposeful.”

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  • NUPENG must understand that its members operate in one of the most critical sectors of the economy and that resort to strike action can and must only be deployed over very serious matters and as a last resort. The union cannot possibly threaten strike action that will hurt the people more than achieve rectitude and expect the media to understand its action. The union must either act responsibly or live with the consequences of irresponsible action.