*Say recent sacks at NNPC “act of cover-up”
15 August 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have raised concerns over the approach being used to implement the reform programme in the oil and gas industry.
According to the unions, the ongoing exercise does not show any act of fighting corruption and blocking any leakages.
The oil workers, who said they were not being carried along in the process, challenged the new Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu, to recover the stolen trillions of naira in the sector rather than “retiring and sacking innocent workers,” which they described as “an act of cover-up.”
The unions, in a joint statement signed by the President, PENGASSAN, Mr. Francis Johnson, its counterpart at NUPENG, Mr. Igwe Achese, and their general secretaries, said while they fully supported the fight against corruption, the fight itself should not be turned against workers whom the government swore to protect.
They said, “The ongoing exercise portends a great danger in the oil and gas sector, if workers are meant to bear the brunt of government’s current action where the fight of corruption is now used as an act of vindictiveness against workers.
“We dare the new GMD of NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to recover the stolen trillions of naira in the sector rather than retiring and sacking of innocent workers. We see the action as an act of cover up. We are quite sure that the ongoing action is not the idea of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We are therefore calling on President Buhari to call the GMD to stop the ongoing sack action in the corporation and set up a team to review his action for justice, equity and fairness which Mr. President stands for.”
The unions said further to their social partner’s status, and as strategic players in all spheres and areas of the industry’s operation, they had been making persistent effort to reach out to Buhari on the issue but were being kept in the dark by those in charge of protocol.
“However, our commitment to protect and defend job security and welfare is paramount and cannot be sacrificed. We shall approach it as it becomes expedient whatever government steps and actions that are viewed as dialectical or capable of suppressing our missions and objectives as a labour movement.
“We are being put on the spot as representatives of organised workers in the oil and gas industry to react to the manner that government is now treading and introducing to carry out change while none of the critical challenges of review of industry policy and fiscal framework, cash call and counterpart funding obligations, stability of the downstream oil and gas sector, pipeline sabotage, oil theft, that we have presented for immediate attention, are being given secondary attention.”
The unions said the gale of abrupt loss of jobs currently sweeping through the NNPC was sending very wrong signals to their members throughout the industry as the issue of job security was making them agitated.
They said it was pertinent to state that the present administration promised jobs creation throughout the entire strata of the economy. “However, actions like these are likely to have the opposite effect,” they added.