Oil workers protest in Lagos over N224 million debt

Dozens of oil workers on Tuesday brought vehicular movements around the Lagos State House of Assembly and the governor’s office to a halt, in protest of non-payment of N224 million debt owed them by the government.

The workers said the money was for diesel and kerosene supplied to the agency between October 2014 and May 2015.

They issued a seven-day ultimatum to the state government to release the money.

“We have been harassed, molested by the Skye bank that sponsored this project,” said Tokunbo Korodo, chairman, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Lagos Zonal Council.

“It’s going to be a painful and shameful thing that you get an LPO from Lagos State government with holistic belief that by end of three months your money will be paid.

“After a year we are still begging for this payment, it is a big shame and it’s sending a very strong signal to all our members that if you are going to transact business with any government, not only Lagos State alone, we should be very careful,” he said.

Mr. Korodo said henceforth any supply of products to the government would be cash-on-delivery.

“If you don’t see your money, don’t deliver.

“After the expiration of these seven days we should not be blamed if we withdraw our services to the people of Lagos State. We are being pushed to the wall and injury to one person is injury to all,” he said.‎

The workers arrived the state government’s secretariat at about 8 a.m. and used their vehicles to block movements around the House of Assembly complex.

The Lagos State House of Assembly is yet to reconvene after it went on recess last December.

But Segun Olulade, a member representing Epe Constituency 2, was on hand to address the angry workers.

Mr. Olulade said the House will act on their petition “within the next 24 hours”.

“We appreciate your coming this morning. We thank you because we believe you are not here to introduce violence. We believe that you are law abiding citizens of Lagos and we thank you for believing in your ‎own House,” Mr. Olulade said.

“I want to say that jaw-jaw is always better than war-war, and that is the system and the method you have demonstrated today.

“We are receiving your petition, but I want to appeal on behalf of over 20 million Lagosians that you allow us to mediate in this matter. That this matter is coming to us for the first time, to our notice as a House, and by so doing we will invite all those who are involved and we will hear from them,” he said.

Mr. Olulade noted that although the house is on recess, it is a “working recess”.

“I want to assure you that within the next 24 hours, we’ll get in touch with you and the House will act swiftly on this matter,” he said.

“You have laid your complaints. We were not there when you had the agreement with the agency you referred to, but this is an agency of government and we will see to it as your own representatives.

“There won’t be any need for you to go to the governor’s office again. We will investigate the matter and ensure that you are not short-changed,” he said.


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