Assets sale: Oil unions threaten showdown with govt

…Say move self-destructive 

igwe Achese, National President, NUPENG

Mr. Igwe Achese

Mkpoikana Udoma 12 October 2016, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – Nigeria’s oil industry unions – National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers, NUPENG, and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, have threatened showdown with the Federal Government if it goes ahead with the proposed sale of critical national assets, including the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, company.

NUPENG said it will shutdown the country over the move while PENGASSAN described the government’s plan as self-destructive, threatening to call out its members on a strike that could cripple the nation’s economy.

Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, Port Harcourt Zone, Chief Charles Eleto, disclosed in Port Harcourt that the union was not in support of the Federal government plan because sale of the national assets would kill the economy.

Eleto advised that those who intended to buy the assets should forget the idea but rather lend the Federal Government the money it needed to bail the nation out of the current recession.

He emphasised that NUPENG would not go back on this position but would follow up with a strike if the Federal Government attempted to sell the assets.

According to him, “We have affirmed the position of our National President, Igwe Achese, against the sale of the nation’s assets. NUPENG is not and will never encourage the sale of any national asset. We don’t have any other country than Nigeria. Selling of the assets can never help Nigerians in any way.

Describing the plan to sell the national assets as self-destructive, PENGASSAN said it is meant to solve short-term financial obligations and targeted at handing over “our collective common wealth to a few individuals and further impoverish the rest of our country men and women”.

Describing the plan to sell the national assets as self-destructive, PENGASSAN said it is meant to solve short-term financial obligations and targeted at handing over “our collective common wealth to a few individuals and further impoverish the rest of our country men and women”.

The senior staff trade union, in a statement, advised that instead of selling the assets, government should look for other ways of increasing the revenue base of the country, while plugging loopholes and leakages in government’s finances.

The association cautioned the Federal Government to be wary of its plan as it would not sit back and watch national assets, especially those in the oil and gas industry such as the NLNG that has become a huge revenue earner for Nigeria, refineries and shares in the upstream oil and gas joint venture operations, being shared among those in power and their cronies.

“Any attempt to sell these national assets will be met with stiff resistance from the Association. PENGASSAN will galvanise every support, including that of our sister union and labour centres, to shut down this country by ensuring that every activity in the oil and gas sector is brought to a complete halt,” the association said.

PENGASSAN National Public Relations Officer, Comrade Emmanuel Ojugbana, also said the sale of the assets “will further compound the economic and security problems in Nigeria”.

The PENGASSAN spokesperson alleged that the plan was ill-timed and unwarranted as the action would not serve national interest, adding that no nation can develop, survive or feel secure after selling all its national assets.

“The plan to sell the national assets is not only surprising but also embarrassing for a nation experiencing economic recession. The proponents of the sale of national assets are those who have been actively involved in the operations of the nation’s economy in the past. They were part of those responsible for the country’s current economic situation”, he claimed.

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