Oil workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers have condemned their exclusion from the public hearing organised by the Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill.
The workers’ unions, in a statement on Sunday, chided the Senate committee for conducting and ending its public hearing without allowing critical and strategic stakeholders in the oil and gas industry to present their positions.
They insisted that the action by the committee to exclude some stakeholders, including PENGASSAN and NUPENG, was deliberate and not in the interest of the nation.
They, therefore, demanded that their request to make presentations through a properly conducted public hearing be granted in the interest of industrial peace and harmony, and also to rekindle their confidence, and indeed that of other Nigerians, in the PIB legislative process.
The statement said, “It will be recalled that in a letter sent out by the Senate Committee on the PIB to stakeholders, the two-day public hearing was earlier scheduled for July 15 and 16, 2013, but later postponed to July 18 and 19, 2013. The postponement was only communicated to the stakeholders through media reports in some dailies.
“In a protest letter jointly signed by the general secretaries of PENGASSAN and NUPENG, Bayo Olowoshile and Isaac Aberare, respectively, which was submitted to the secretariat of the committee located at the basement of the Senate Building and received by an employee at the secretariat, Mr. Lucas Jonah, the two workers’ unions said that the letter sent to them indicated that they would be presenting their positions on the second day of the public hearing.”
The unions alleged that the committee ended the public hearing to protect personal interests of some people.
The letter read in part, “We refer to the letter of invitation dated July 3, 2013 and the subsequent news and advertorial in the newspapers for the Senate Public Hearing organised by the Joint Senate Committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill) which was initially scheduled for Tuesday July 16, 2013 and Wednesday July 17,2013, in which NUPENG-PENGASSAN was scheduled to make presentation on Day 2, that is, Wednesday July 17, 2013.
“We, however, learnt through the news that the Public Hearing of the Joint Senate Committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill has been rescheduled to Thursday July 18, 2013 and Friday July 19, 2013(2-days) which follows that NUPENG-PENGASSAN shall make presentation on the second day of the public hearing which is on Friday July 19 2013.”
Information from Punch was used in this report.