08 March 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, and its counterpart, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, have decried the planned moves to unbundle Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, into 30 companies by the Federal government, as illegal.
Both unions have also warned that any effort to reform the NNPC outside of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will be meaningless, pointing out that the PIB was germane to the development of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
The two major oil and gas unions in separate statements yesterday described the plan as an attempt to provoke the Oil and Gas workers and cause industrial unrest in the country
In the statement by its Acting General Secretary, Joseph Ogbebor, NUPENG said, “We condemn the unilateral action of the Minister of State, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, as the decision is not in consonance with the laws establishing the NNPC.
“The unbundling and rebranding of NNPC as announced by the Minister of State is another public policy change which is not consistent with the Act and Laws establishing NNPC and will be resisted by Oil and Gas workers in the country.
“NUPENG will not tolerate a situation whereby the unbundled companies will now hide under the cover to start disengaging its workers. Job creation and job security has been the change mantra of the current administration.”
The statement further noted that, “The move is to kill the NNPC by all means but that government officials should know that the Corporation is a creation of law and that it will take the repealing of the original Act to effect the changes that they are planning to do.”
On its part, PENGASSAN in a statement by its Acting General Secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa, said the government’s move is tantamount to a breach of the Act setting up the Corporation, which would render it illegal.
He said, “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, which are provided for in the NNPC Act of 1977. What will happen to all these provisions of the law?”
He added that, “For the government to do anything with the current NNPC, the Act must either be repealed or amended to accommodate the planned restructuring. If not done, it will equal to lack of respect for the rule of law on the part of the government.
“The Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, that is expected to be the legal instrument for the ongoing reforms of the Oil and Gas industry will be meaningless if the Government should introduce plans outside the reforms. The PIB is germane to the development of the nation’s Oil and Gas Industry.”