Port Harcourt — The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has ordered all her members to withdraw all forms of services relating to crude oil production, refining, distribution and supplies by 12 noon tomorrow, Monday 20th April 2020.
PENGASSAN also ordered her members to stop all operations on all export facilities, as well as suspension of Production & Maintenance Services Reports, by midnight of today, Sunday 19th April, 2020.
This is as the Rivers State Government had since on Thursday, arrested and quarantine 22 staff of ExxonMobil, for allegedly flouting the State’s Executive Order on COVID-19.
PENGASSAN National President, Ndukaku Ohaeri and Secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa, said all entreaties to the Rivers State Government to see reasons, that ExxonMobil staff were on essential duties which is for the economic interest of the country, have been rebuffed.
Ohaeri and Okugbawa, regretted that since the Federal Government cannot guarantee access to work locations for its members, or secure the release of these 21 comrades on legitimate national assignment, oil workers have no option but to down tools.
They warned that the directive will remain in force until assurances of their members’ safety are guaranteed by Federal Government, adding that, plans are underway for other sister unions to join the action, as injury to one is injury to all.
“Recall that on Thursday the 16th of April 2020, we raised the alarm over the illegal arrest and detention of 21(19 male and 2 female) staff of ExxonMobil by the Rivers State Police Command, on the pretext that they violated the State Executive Order on the prevention of movement to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus in the state.
“It is more than 48 hours today that these patriotic workers who were lured from the border between Rivers and Akwa Ibom are still detained under inhabitable and inhuman conditions and denied access to basic necessities of life at Elekhahia Stadium.
“All entreaties to the Rivers State Government to see reasons that they were on essential duties which is for the economic interest of the country have been rebuffed.
“Also, it has become obvious that the Federal Government who through the Presidential Task Force on the COVID-19 Pandemic cannot guarantee access to work locations for our members who have volunteered to sacrifice their lives and comfort to salvage the Country from the impending economic crisis occasioned by this world-wide
“The Federal Government and relevant authorities having failed to secure the release of these 21 comrades on legitimate national assignment, the leadership of PENGASSAN, having no other option regrettably direct all our members to commence the withdrawal of services as follows;
“By midnight Sunday 19th April 2020, all Export facilities will stop operation as well as suspension of Production & Maintenance Services Reports.
“That by 12 noon on Monday 20th April all our members will withdraw all forms of services relating to crude oil production, refining, distribution and supplies.
“This directive will remain in force until assurances of our members’ safety are guaranteed by Federal Government. We are in consultation with our units, branches and other sister Unions who will also be joining the action as the safety of our members is our uttermost priority.”