…We are being victimised, affected workers cry out
Lagos — The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has sacked 184 ad-hoc workers, according to a letter of termination of appointment issued by the corporation to the workers, obtained by SweetcrudeReports.
Until the termination of their contract, the affected personnel were workers at the Kaduna refinery. They include plant operators, laboratory technicians, maintenance crew, and operational drivers.
According to the letter conveying the termination of appointment, the 178 ad-hoc workers were from Sahabent Nigeria Limited.
The letter March 27, 2020, said the NNPC management decision to rehabilitate the nation’s refineries between 2020 and 2023, informed their disengagement.
‘In view of the above, your services as KPRC support staff will no longer be required as from April 1, 2020,’’ the letter added.
However, some of the affected workers lamented that their disengagement was unfair treatment, describing it as “victimisation” as most of them have worked with the corporation for the past 10-15 years.
Some of the workers said, as at the time of their appointment, the NNPC had pledged to “regularise” their appointments in due course, although they added that they were not issued letters of appointment or condition of service.
They noted that after much pressure, some companies were brought in as their new employers to take over the responsibility of paying their salaries. Some of the companies include Sahabent Nigeria Limited, Azzahabi Nigeria Limited, Cartel Multi Services Limited and Kamlink Nigeria Limited.
Others are Samgus Nigeria Limited, Sarauniya Global Links and Terragona Doma Global Venture Limited.
They, however, said all efforts to get NNPC to regularise their appointments afterwards, especially through the recently completed recruitment exercise under ‘Experienced hires’ met with a brickwall as most of them were over the prescribed age having already put in over 10-15 years as casuals.
A source added that NNPC then organised a separate in-house interview for some of the support staff who were outstanding in the discharge of their duty in a bid to regularise their appointments. This, he added, also met a brickwall as the entire process was subsequently canceled.
The dismmissed workers are calling on the federal government to step into the matter as they had served the refinery without any form of terminal benefits.
In response to the allegations, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of NNPC, Dr. Kennie Obateru, denied NNPC having any contract with the workers, saying they were not at any time engaged by the corporation.
He explained that the disengaged workers were brought in by NNPC contractors to carry out certain roles within some period of time.
‘‘What usually happens is that from time to time, we do have contracts to execute through our contractors and when we finish executing the contract, they (contractors) leave. Some contractors have been with us for a very long time and same for some of their hires. So, for the fact that a particular contractor keeps bringing the same set of workers for years does not make them our liability,” Obateru said.
According to him, the recent recruitment exercise conducted by the NNPC gave every Nigerian a level playing field, only the best in every state of the federation was considered because it was strictly done on the basis of merit.
‘‘So, if some of the support workers had participated in the exercise, and due to one reason or the other, they could not merit being absorbed, that is not the fault of the corporation,’’ he added.