Oil Workers Shut Down Industry, want FG to Reverse Sale of OMLs 40, 42

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The unions in the oil and gas sector on Wednesday in Abuja appealed to the Federal Government to reverse the sale of Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 40 and 42.

Mr Isaac Aberare, the General Secretary, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Aberare said that the sale of OML 40 and 42 would shortchange the workers, Nigerians and the country as a whole.

According to him, due to the sale of the oil blocks, all the branches of the union in NNPC affiliates which include the refineries, the PPMC and corporate headquarters embarked on strike on Wednesday.

“ We have directed all our locations and oil production facilities nationwide to shut down for an indefinite strike until an agreement is reached on the protest.”

He noted that several attempts had been made by the unions in the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of the NNPC engaged in exploration and production and located in Benin, to stop the sale of the oil blocks to no avail.

According to him, the company, which is acting on the instruction of “some powers’’ had transferred OMLs 40 and 42 to a contractor without following due process.

“So, if the transaction is allowed to stand, it will shortchange the workers and the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“So, the workers are quarreling and questioning the haste in making that transfer when the life span of this present administration has less than three weeks to go.

“The workers suspected a shoddy deal and they said that due process was also not followed.

So that is why the branches in the company in Benin first embarked on a three-day warning strike last week.’’

He further explained that the three-day warning strike was with a view to attracting government attention and top management of NNPC to resolve the issues.

The NUPENG General Secretary explained that when that approach failed, the workers embarked on an indefinite strike on Monday, leading to the nationwide strike.

“I want to reiterate again that the queues in the filling stations do not have anything to do with NUPENG but rather the independent marketers and major marketers,

“I want to assure you that our strike for the sale of the oil blocks will not escalate the fuel scarcity in some parts of the country because the tanker drivers are not involved for now.”
He also said that even if the refineries were shut down, more than 90 per cent of fuel consumption were imported.

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