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Beyond NNPC claims of steady supplies, NUPENG may shut down key cities

At a time the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has allayed fears of possible hiccups in petroleum products supply in parts of the country on grounds of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers’ (NUPENG) threat to commence an indefinite strike over an alleged unlawful sack of its members Delta and Warri, strong indications have emerged suggesting real danger.
Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, in a statement on Friday in Abuja, said the corporation’s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru and his Management team were engaging the parties involved, saying the parties are close to resolving the issues.
The Corporation therefore advised motorists and other consumers of petroleum products not to engage in panic buying as the NNPC Management was close to reaching an amicable resolution of the challenge.
NNPC further assured that the corporation had adequate storage of petroleum products across the country, advising that they should not entertain any fear of petroleum shortages.
However, more fears emerged weekend as the Lagos chapter of NUPENG has threatened to commence an indefinite strike on sympathy ground over an alleged unlawful sack of its members Delta and Warri.
The Chairman of Lagos Council, Mr. Tayo Aboyeji, dropped the hint, saying the development was sequel to an alleged forceful evacuation of about 3,000 workers from the rigs by five drilling oil rigs.
He said the rigs are being operated by Sterling Energy Exploration Company (SEEPCO), and its drilling arm, British Oil and Gas Limited (BOGEL) in Kwale and Warri areas of Delta.
Business Hilights recalls that the National President of NUPENG, Prince Williams Akporeha had on Thursday last week gave the Nigerian Army 24-hours ultimatum to withdraw its officers from the premises of SEEPCO, and BOGEL to avert nationwide strike.
Akporeha alleged that the oil firms used the military to forcefully evacuate and abruptly terminate workers’ appointments following their (oil firms) refusal to allow unionisation.
Lagos chapter boss insisted that if the government refuses to call the oil firms to order, they will embark on a strike to fight the injustice and denial of the members’ rights.
He averred that “NUPENG is one and an injury to one is injury to all. On our own, we cannot watch while our members are being sacked just because the company did not want our members to be unionised.
“We will not condone victimisation of our members by the Nigeria Army or who ever gave them the directive it is the right of the workers to be unionise.
“When has it become a norm for the military to go to a company and decide whether a worker should join a union or not, this is purely a civil and industrial matter.
“Soldiers must vacate the company immediately and let the issue of the industrial matter be resolved between the union and the management of SEEPCO.
“Otherwise the Lagos zone which comprises six states in Southwest and Kwara would be forced to join the action in solidarity with members in Delta and Warri zone,” the union leader warned.