The workers, under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, gave the ultimatum after considering the massive loss of investments, income and jobs as a result of crude oil theft in the country.
The two unions after their Joint National Executive Council meeting in Abuja on Thursday, said, “In view of the obvious looming danger to the survival of the oil and gas industry, and by extension, the nation’s economy, which has become so endemic, and with high sense of responsibility and patriotism, we have resolved to issue the Federal Government of Nigeria a 60-day ultimatum to effectively and holistically address and find a lasting solution to this massive crude oil theft debacle.”
The presidents of PENGASSAN and NUPENG, Mr. Babatunde Ogun and Mr. Igwe Achese, respectively, condemned the helplessness of the Federal Government in combating the huge level of crude oil theft.
Achese noted that crude theft had reduced oil production of almost all the multinationals by more than 60 per cent, leading to shortages, shut in, high cost of operation, and threats to the jobs of members of the unions and discouragement to investors.
He alleged that there was high level collaboration among the security agencies, politicians and highly placed Nigerians in crude oil theft racket.
Ogun observed that the increase in the rate of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism could be as a result of under-funding of the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies saddled with the task of protecting and securing the vital national assets.
However, the Media and Information Officer, PENGASSAN, Mr. Babatunde Oke, told our correspondent in an interview that the association had suspended the planned seven-day strike because some issues had been resolved.
“PENGASSAN has put on hold on the planned strike. A meeting was held this morning (Thursday) and some of the issues have been resolved. Government is attending to some of these issues. The main focus of the meeting was oil theft, which the government has agreed to deal with,” he said.
Information from Punch was used in this report.