13 December 2013, Abuja – Workers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Thursday protested against the plans by the federal government to sell the nation’s oil refineries in Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt to private investors in the first quarter of 2014.
The protest was held under the umbrella of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).
The workers, who came out in their numbers at the headquarters of the corporation in Abuja, said that the planned sale of the refineries was a wrong move by the federal government.
The Group Chairman of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers [NUPENG], Richard Otovwievwiere, said that the workers were opposed to the sale of the refineries as it would impact negatively on the nation’s economy.
He said the union members had not been treated well by the government, accusing the government of trying to take their wealth.
Few days ago, both PENGASSAN, and NUPENG members in Eleme, Rivers State, equally protested the planned sale of the refineries, threatening to declare a nationwide strike should government go ahead with the planned sale.
The oil workers said government should rather carry out a comprehensive turn around maintenance on the refineries for optimal performance.
They vowed to continue to oppose the planned sale because it was anti-Nigeria and anti-people.
Earlier, NUPENG, at its National Executive Council (NEC), meeting in Okrika, where it vowed to resist the planned sale of the refineries, insisted that the oil workers would not hesitate to shut down the sector if reason failed to prevail on the government.
President of the union, Achese Igwe, told newsmen that he was shocked that Nigeria, as the sixth largest oil producing country, would contemplate selling off its refineries, arguing that they would declare a national strike against the move.
He urged the federal government to take steps towards making the refineries function optimally, adding that the government should address the issue of casualisation in some of the multinational oil firms.
– This Day