By Kayode Tokede
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have raised alarm over high level of insecurity, the conduct of the election in the country in 2019, unemployment and other related matters.
The joint meeting between PENGASSAN and NUPENG in Abuja on Wednesday examined issues affecting the oil and gas industry with the intention to chart a new course for growth and development of the industry in the overall interest of our members and the nation in general.
The council-in-session noted with deep sense of worries and concerns over the lack of self belief by the citizens, who have literally lost confidence in the political leadership, and thereby involve in criminal activities that jeopardises the existence of the Nigeria nation as a one and indivisible country.
The council-in-session in a communique, were deeply disturbed about incessant violent and incessant killings and wanton destruction of lives and properties, especially farm lands as well as threats to the food security base of the country, thereby increasing poverty and hunger in the country.
According to the communique, “The Council in Session is also more worrisome is the threat to foreign direct investment as many international investors start to misconstrue Nigeria as an unsafe and dangerous investment destination. This equally amounts to the losses these crises have caused many of our members and the psychological and economic damage they have suffered over the years.
“The Council frowns at repeated clashes of similar nature across the country, which obviously is making people become apprehensive because of fear of the unknown.
“The council-in-session of sheer patriotism calls on the Federal Government and the affected state governments to work together, taking immediate steps to reinvigorate and overhaul their securitysystem, strengthen conflict-resolution mechanisms and initiate longer-term efforts to look into familiar problems of insecurity in their domains.
“As socially responsible stakeholders in the Nigerian project that strongly believes in sanctity of human life, the Council-in-Session therefore appeals to Governments at all levels to jettison cheap politics, hypocrisy and bias. We calls that it is high time they empower all our security agencies with the right resources and concentrate more on surveillance, intelligence gathering and intelligence processing with the right technology and equipment.
The Council in Session thus called on federal government to ensure that people get reprieve from the incessant violence and more importantly create lasting solution whereby lives of citizens are protected as required by the constitution.
On the 2019 election year, the joint communique by PENGASSAN and NUPENG stated that, “ The Council-in-Session also admonish the electoral umpire (INEC) to remain unbiased in the discharge of its statutory responsibilities so that the conduct of the election in the country in 2019 will be credible, transparent, free and fair.”
They further urged all political parties and stakeholders in politics to eschew violence and divisive politics through utterances and actions as well as promote virtues that will entrench strong and united Nigeria where socio-economic fortunes of the country will be maximised and sustained.
They condemned the high level of unemployment in the country. Even where we have employment, the jobs have become more or less slave labour with no hope for career growth and development.
“In almost all multinational oil companies in Nigeria, there are no more direct permanent jobs for the middle level to lower level cadre, which has now become a bigger challenge of increased violent crimes and suicidal migrations.
“The Council in Session demands that the Government should make positive change employment policies and system, especially in the Oil and Gas Industry. The Government should make it mandatory for every oil and gas company in Nigeria to employ not less than 50per cent of its employees of middle to junior cadre as direct permanent workers to help indigent and less privileged youths to grow, develop and have hope in the nation and for the future.
“The Council in Session condemns the unilateral reduction of personnel cost of Government agencies, especially Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agencies (PPPRA), Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NNRA), Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) and the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) by the Budget Office.
“This can lead to disincentive and eventual job loss of Nigerian workers in these organisations. The personnel cost of these agencies are a function of their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBAs) with the Federal Government and should not derided without active involvement of the unions.”
In addition, the council session explained that, “It is imperative for us at a time like this to show our sincere appreciation to the National Assembly (both House of Reps and the Senate) for the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill
(PIB) and also urge the Executive arm of Government to give speedy assent to it before the 2019 electoral process.”