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Oil workers to Buhari: end fuel importation

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to end the nation’s reliance on imported petroleum products.

The oil workers promised to give the President the necessary support to put an end to the shame of importing products for local consumption.

NUPENG President Comrade Williams Akporeha made the call at a press briefing in Lagos. He said the union would resist any policy that would impact negatively on the oil and gas industry.

He said the over dependence on petroleum products import has made the country vulnerable to antics and manipulations of local and foreign manipulators.

‘’NEC-In-Session, (National Executive Council of NUPENG), the highest organ of our Union on Friday April 26, 2019 requested for urgent revitalisation of Nigeria’s ailing refineries to pave way for sufficient local supply of petroleum products across the nation.

‘’NEC-In-Session in its wisdom equally encouraged state governments from the oil rich Niger Delta region to invest in building oil refineries to cater for domestic, commercial and industrial use by the citizenry, ’he added.

Criticising the anti-labour postures of International Oil Companies (IOCs), Akporeha decried the violation of contract workers’ rights in Shell Nigeria.

‘’The gross violation of workers right reached an unfortunate head when Shell contractors brazenly refused to implement an agreement they willingly entered into with the workers since November 2018,’’he added.

Akporeha expressed disgust over the refusal of the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Company (NLNG ) and its contractors to recognise the union.

‘’It is important to let you know that even after the Ministry of Labour’s intervention and the Court ruling in favour of the workers affirming their inalienable rights to associate and bargain collectively, NLNG and its contractors still remain recalcitrant. Some of these contractors include WAEP, MIDIS Nigeria Limited, Rypac, D. A. Enterprise,’’ he added

Commending Buhari and the National Assembly for the new national minimum wage law, the labour leader urged employers to ensure the immediate implementation of the new minimum wage.

His words: “We offer our hands of fellowship to all workers who might need support in the unforeseen situation of any employer including state governments that may be thinking of cutting corners with regards to the implementation of the new minimum wage.”

‘’We know as a matter of fact that there is no state in Nigeria that does not have the capacity to conveniently implement this modest benchmark for workers in their respective states. It is, therefore, imperative for the government to focus on how to deepen good governance and restrain from fiscal wastages’’.

In a related event, the union urged Buhari to ignore the counsel of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to remove fuel subsidy.

Akporeha described the IMF’s counsel as poisonous and capable of destabilising and creating unnecessary tension in the economy and body polity.

He said: “While maintaining our uncompromising standpoint on national patriotism and also pushing for good governance particularly in the sector that affects our members and their businesses, we use this medium to condemn the hoax which suggested that Federal Government was planning to remove fuel subsidy.

“Our over dependence on petroleum products importation has unfortunately made us to be very vulnerable to antics and manipulations of local and foreign manipulators. As stakeholders in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, we are not aware of such plan. Sadly, this unhealthy speculation led to panic buying and created slight hitches in the country’s downstream sector.’’