The leadership and members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers congratulate and felicitate with the President-elect, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Vice-President-elect, Senator KashimShettima on this auspicious occasion of the inauguration and swearing-in ceremony as the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
We equally celebrate with Nigerians on this Twenty-Four (24) unprecedented and unbroken years of democratic rule in the Country. We salute the belief, courage, and steadfastness of all our fellow patriotic Nigerians for the journey and struggles so far with our firm belief that we shall overcome and have a Country and citizens we all desire and crave for one day.
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers is very proud of the roles and sacrifices we made in the restoration of democratic rule in the Country and our continued efforts towards safeguarding it and for the delivery of good governance to the people of this country.
Without any iota of doubt, everyone is aware of the crucial and critical importance of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry in the overall GDP and the total foreign exchange earning of the Country, which explain the pivotal roles and place of the workers of the industry in the annals of our dear country.
It is in furtherance of these roles that we wish to use this medium to reiterate the fact that Nigerians are aggrieved and deeply frustrated with present state of things in the Country and urgently place before the in-coming administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu some critical issues for his immediate attention and consideration for the good of the industry and the nation at large.
- STATE OF INSECURITY
As a matter of national urgency, we strongly implore the Administration of the President-elect to address the issue of insecurity that has pervaded the entire Country without any exception in any part of this Country. Nigerians in the past fifteen years are continuously losing faith in the ability and capacity of successive government to protect their lives, properties and sources of livelihood. No Nigerian feels safe anymore and these unfortunate situations have in so many ways accentuate the level of poverty, unemployment, rising food cost and brain drain syndrome amongst every age brackets. The daily gory tales of kidnapping for ransoms, ritual killing, religious killings, communal clashes/killings, herders vs farmers killings are so scary and discouraging farmers from farms and indigenous and foreign investors/businesses from investing in the Country to create jobs.
This is not the Country we all crave for, and we strongly feel that the President-elect can help to turn this situation of hopelessness to a situation of hope and faith in our fatherland if he truly offers to serve.
- CRUDE OIL THEFTS
We earnestly implore the government of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu to save Nigeria and Nigerians from the shame and global ridicule of open thefts and sales of the nation’s crude oil in the international markets while the country is reeling in helplessness, hardship and poverty. The in-coming administration should as a matter of urgency address this issue with all vigor and urgency.
- NON- INTERFERENCE WITH PIA IMPLEMENTATION
Your Excellency, the President-elect needs no further introduction to the tumultuous journey that led to eventual signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill into an Act of the Parliament by Out-going President Muhammadu Buhari with the objectives of having a Petroleum Industry that will be accountable, rewarding and transparent in financials, governance and responsiveness to the needs and yearnings of Communities and stakeholders.
These desirable objectives can only be achieved with strict adherence in implementation to the spirit and letters of the Act. We therefore strongly plead with the President-elect and his team to give a new narrative to wrong notions that Nigeria governments are no respecter of their laws. Let the Petroleum Industry Act, no matter any perceived shortcomings inherent be implemented until any further amendments are made.
- THE STATE OF EMPLOYMENT AND WORKING CONDITIONS IN THE NIGERIA OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY
It is very important to bring to your immediate attention the parlous state of employment and working conditions of Nigerians in the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry, most especially the blue-collar workers in the Oil and Gas Industry. There is increasing degeneration, indecency and precariousness of employment and working conditions in the Industry, which can also be attributed to be one of the causes of the increasing frustrations, crime, violence and restiveness among the youths who are continuously feeling alienated in their fatherland.
The implementation of Local Contents Law which the Unions in the Industry fought vigorously for in the interest of Nigerian young graduates/technicians/school leavers has been turned into cesspit of corruption with the Board’s only interest is to make more Millionaires of portfolio carrying Nigerian businessmen.
The Board seems uninterested in addressing the crude behavior and exploitative employment tactics of those unscrupulous indigenous employers and multinationals who are unfortunately exploiting and turning the Nigerian local contents law into ambits of slavery and precarious employment rather than a source of fulfilling employment and empowerment for teeming qualified young Nigerians in their fatherland.
We are therefore, urgently calling on the incoming administration to declare a state of emergency in the Oil and Gas sector so as to properly situate the employment in the industry in such a way and manner that will engender technical expertise and skills enhancement for young Nigerians graduates/technicians/school leavers and further help to reduce the wave of brain drain, insecurity and penchant for fraudulent activities among the youth in the country.
It’s our firm belief that Nigeria has enough human capacity to develop and enhance its technological capabilities.
- FUEL SUBSIDY
Without any doubt a major socio/economic policy on the front burner of national discourse and expectation is the recurrent discussion/debate for the removal of subsidy from the Petroleum Motor Spirit.
As a responsible and responsive Trade Union in the Industry we are very desirous of policy change on the issue of subsidy on PMS, but we are deeply concerned of the failure of the successive administration to do the needful as severally advised and canvassed for by organized labor in order to avoid unintended consequences on the people and the body polity.
We are delighted that our concerns about the dependence on importation is being addressed by the recently commissioned Dangote Refinery, but we are quick to add that the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu should not rush into taking any decision on the Policy change until the products are actually in the market from the Dangote Refinery.
In same vein the in-coming administration should make all three public refineries functional and should not because of the anticipatory products availability from Dangote refinery allow all the hard-earned funds injected into the rehabilitation of the three public refineries (Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna) wasted but concrete efforts should be geared towards making them functional and operate in full capacities to generate returns on the investments.
It has always been our firm believe that deregulation that is based on local production will not only increase the revenue earnings of the country, but it will also generate employment and make life more meaningful to ordinary Nigerians.
It’s also very imperative for the new administration to have robust engagement and discussion with all key stakeholders, most especially the organized Labor on ways and means to mitigate these consequences on employment, inflation and living conditions of the working people.
Any major policy decision on the removal of the subsidy on this very important economic item should be taken with extra caution in view of the enormous implications and the impacts on the overall economic activities of the nation and other unintended consequences on the ordinary citizens considering the socio-economic importance of the product.
Once again, we congratulate the President-elect, Vice President-elect, all Governors-elect, all National and State Legislators-elect and all Nigerians on this historic day of the inauguration and swearing-in ceremony.
We shall overcome!!!
COMRADE (PRINCE) WILLIAMS AKPOREHA COMRADE AFOLABI OLAWALE
NUPENG President NUPENG General Secretary