President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to call the new Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu to order over the resent sweeping sack of workers.
The two unions in the industry made the appeal in a joint statement to the President on the ongoing actions by Kachikwu who was appointed on August 4.
They accused the new NNPC boss of not carrying them along in his decisions. The workers also expressed concern that the mass sack being implemented by Kachikwu is in breach of civil service rules on job security and permanence.
They also disclosed that efforts to meet with Buhari are beoing frustrated by the protocol department of the presidency.
The joint press statement was signed by the President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Senior Staff of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Francis O. Johnson and the union’s secretary, Bayo Olowoshile; as well as Comrade Igwe Achese, President of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the association’s acting General Secretary, Joseph Ogbebor.
The statement, entitled: “NUPENG-PENGASSAN registers reservations on the government change process in the oil and gas industry in particular.”
It reads: “We, the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (NUPENGASSAN) hereby wish to express our reservations over the ongoing approach of Government to the Reform programme in the Oil and Gas Industry without carrying the two Unions in the Sector along in the process.
While we are fully in support of the fight against corruption, the fight itself should not be turned against workers whom Government swore to protect. The ongoing exercise portends a great danger in the Oil and Sector, if workers are meant to bear the brunt of Government current action where the fight of corruption is now used as an act of vindictiveness against workers. The ongoing exercise does not show any act of fighting corruption and blocking any leakages. We dare the new GMD of NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu to recover the stolen trillions of Naira in the Sector 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 our dear President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.
Both Unions argue that further to their social partner’s status, they are strategic players in all spheres and areas of the industry’s operation. In that regard, we have been making persistent effort to reach out to Mr. President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue but are being kept in the dark by those in charge of protocol.
However, our commitments to protect and defend job security and welfare is paramount and cannot be sacrificed. We shall approach 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 organized 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 gale of abrupt loss of jobs currently sweeping through our apex oil Company the NNPC, is sending very wrong signals to our members throughout the oil and gas sector as per job security which is making our members agitated.
It is pertinent to state here that this present Administration promised jobs creation throughout the entire strata of the economy. However, actions like these are likely to have the opposite effect.
We believe people are not the problem but the structure put in place. If there are strong structures and Institutions, the organization will be a more effective place. So instead of a blanket sacking of workers which other Organizations are likely to key into, Government reforms should be geared into putting in place, effective and strong structures and institutions that will meet the numerous challenges currently bedeviling the Oil and Gas Sector in particular and the Nation in general.
We are glad to hear about the reinstatement of the former MD of Nigeria Ports Authority Mr. Habibu Abdullahi who was sacked unjustly, we are therefore calling on the President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR to call the GMD Dr. Ibe Emmanuel Kachikwu, 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.
“A stitch in time, saves nine.”