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NUPRC employees demand sack of Chief Executive over fraud

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Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) employees on Wednesday called for the sack of their Chief Executive, Gbenga Komolafe, over alleged fraud and abuse of office.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the workers had on Tuesday besieged the offices of the commission in Jabi and Utako, Abuja, where they gave a 24-hour ultimatum for the grievances to be addressed.

The workers identified some of the issues as non-remittance of pension deducted from their salaries, poor working environment, insufficient working tools, and unpaid staff claims.

Others were staff medicals, seven months outstanding salary payments and the non-payment of the emoluments of outsourced personnel.

At the expiration of the ultimatum on Wednesday, the workers stormed the main entrance to NUPRC complex in Jabi, Abuja, dressed in black and red attires.

The workers, in their numbers, urged President Bola Tinubu to sack Komolafe or order him to resign.

The workers also called for a forensic audit of all contract processes and payments by the commission under Komolafe’s watch.

Mr Owan David, the National Treasurer, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), explained during the protest that Komolafe must go for paying deaf ears to employees plight.

David warned that if nothing was done to address the situation, the workers would withdraw from their duty posts nationwide.

He urged the relevant authorities to take necessary action to save the commission from total collapse.

Earlier, Mr Okechukwu Anya, the Branch Chairman of the union, complained that instead of engaging the workers in resolving the lingering issues, the management had resorted to intimidating the union leaders.

Anya said that the union leaders were being intimidated for asking for improved working conditions.

He accused the embattled chief executive of neglecting staff welfare and gross mismanagement of the commission’s funds.

Reacting to the allegations, Komolafe expressed shock over the protest, adding that the management has fulfilled almost all the claims and demands of the workers.

He said, in a statement, that about N1.5 billion upfront deductions had been offset among other commitments.

He added that efforts were already in place to address pending issues.

On the non-remittance of pension deductions, Komolafe said that the commission has remitted all pension deductions to the various Pension Fund Administrators.

He added that the management had also secured additional working space in Abuja, while relevant steps had been taken to fit the necessary facilities in the Port Harcourt and Lagos offices.

On medicals, Komolafe explained that full and comprehensive medical care, inclusive of approved overseas treatment, where required, was being provided for all staff.

“The commission has also paid all on-call allowances to deserving staff as of July 2023.

“Regarding the issue of non-payment of outsourced personnel, all outsourced service providers invoices are currently being processed,” he said.

The chief executive said that the commission would not succumb to threats and intimidation from any quarters. 

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