Oil workers threaten strike over killing of members by vandals

Some oil workers have threatened to strike if the killers of their colleagues who were murdered on duty are not found and prosecuted.

The workers, under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, threatened to withdraw their services nationwide if the Federal Government fails to urgently find the culprits who killed the workers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. Three workers were killed, in September, while trying to repair the sabotaged and damaged oil pipeline at Arepo, Ogun State.

The workers’ president, Babatunde Ogun, who issued the threat at the opening of the 3rd triennial delegate conference of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company Limited, PPMC, in Abeokuta on Wednesday, accused the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, of gross insensitivity over the plight of oil workers.

“A minister that has the oversight responsibility over the oil and gas industry does not care about the workers,” Mr. Ogun said. “Since she assumed office, she has never met with the workers. Every entreaties and efforts to meet with the minister and tell her our challenges and problems failed, because the minister is not ready to listen.”

Mr. Ogun said the minister has neglected their welfare and refused to listen to the challenges they face in the course of their jobs.  He said all attempts made by his union and its sister organisation, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, to meet with Mrs. Alison-Madueke have been rebuffed by the minister.

Mr. Ogun cited the case of the PPMC workers, who were attacked by hoodlums when they went to carry out repairs on the damaged products pipeline at Arepo, saying PENGASSAN would do everything to support its member’s decision to withdraw their services if nothing is done urgently by government to find the culprits and bring them to book.

He berated the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, for not making any effort to meet with the two unions since he assumed office several months ago.

“The National organ of PENGASSAN is ready to lead the fight, but members must be ready to stand up and fight for our liberation when we make the call. I cannot imagine that despite all the problems in our industry, the GMD has not bothered to call the unions to discuss with us,” he said.

The Chairman, PPMC branch of PENGASSAN, O. S. Sadiku, said vandals have continued to threaten the smooth operation of the PPMC staff in the face of obvious display of lack of commitment by government to end the incidences of vandalism in the area.

“Human beings, especially our members, should not be used as guinea pigs and killed anyhow in the performance of their lawful and strategic duties. We will withdraw our services if our safety and security is not guaranteed,” he said.


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