Oil workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have shut down operations of the Petroleum Produçts Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) over alleged imposition of an acting executive secretary of the agency.
The workers, who are mainly members of staff of the agency, are protesting the arrival on Monday of a senior staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Stephanie Oyoyo to assume duties as acting executive secretary four days after the immediate past occupier of the office, Farouk Ahmed, was removed.
Mr. Ahmed had handed over the management of the agency to Moses Mbaba, the most senior official of the organisation.
But the Chairman of the PPPRA chapter of PENGASSAN, Victor Ononokpono, told the protesting workers outside the premises of the agençy in Abuja on Tuesday that the staff would no longer accept the continued imposition of NNPC officials on the agency.
“Our members are saying the arrival of another staff of NNPC, whiçh is the operator arm of the petroleum industry, to manage the PPPRA, the regulating arm, would not be acceptable.
“This is an imposition the workers will vehemently reject. We will continue to protest against it till government is ready to listen to us. This is not only unprofessional, but detrimental to the effective performance of PPPRA’s role in the industry,” Mr. Ononokpono told the protesting workers.
He said the workers were concerned that PPPRA was having two executive secretaries within 48 hours, pointing out that there were sufficient indication of a clandestine move to cover up massive fraud in the system.
According to the union leader, immediately the new NNPC offiçial showed up at the PPPRA to assume duties, the first set of files she called for were those relating to petroleum support fund (PSF) and fuel subsiďy payments.
“This is curious. There is something very clandestine going on with this arrangement. We are genuinely worried. We say no to any imposition. We call on the anti-graft agençies, namely the Economic ànd Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corruption Prohibition and related crimes Commission (ICPC) to investigate the management of the immediate administration in the PPPRA,” Mr. Ononokpono said.