21 July 2013, Lagos – Workers in the nation’s petroleum industry have accused the Presidency of being economical with words over the alarming rate of crude oil theft in the country, insisting that politicians and highly placed individuals are responsible for the increasing crude theft.
Under the umbrella of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, the workers dismissed accusation by the Special Adviser to the President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, that the oil workers were the brains behind crude oil theft in the country.
Reacting to a statement credited to Mr. Kuku in a national paper of July 17, 2013 titled: “Oil Workers are the Ones Stealing Crude Oil,” NUPENG and PENGASSAN, described the allegation as unimaginable, unguided, mischievous and condemnable.
They said they took serious exception to such perturbing, mischievous, diabolical unsubstantiated and alarming allegation clownishly and flippantly discharged without being mindful of its implications and ramifications.
The workers alleged that the criminal activities of crude oil thefts were perpetrated by highly placed and influential individuals and politicians, adding that Kuku “is only being economical with the truth and trying to cover up with his allegation against the workers.”
The unions asked the federal government to call to order the special adviser to the president against unguided and unsubstantiated provocative utterances in the interest of industrial peace and the respect for “Our nation that seriously yearn for peace at this relatively volatile moment of our national life.”
Speaking on behalf of the NUPENG and PENGASSAN, President of PENGASSAN, Babatude Ogun, expressed the oil workers preparedness to take up the issue with the special adviser to the president unless he substantiated his allegation, saying that the Joint Tax Force, JTF, should also help in unmasking those behind criminal act of crude oil theft and other national sabotage activities.
– Victor Ahiuma-Young, Vanguard