The leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), has suspended the three day warning strike it declared a day ago.
The union called off the strike after a meeting with some government officials and representatives of oil companies held in Abuja.
At the meeting, disagreement between the union and oil companies over staff welfare was discussed.
NUPENG had declared a three-day warning strike to press for the implementation of the agreement reached with the oil companies on staff welfare, which the Federal Government mediated in 2016.
Both the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige and the president of the union, Mr Igwe Achese, told reporters that a timeline of two weeks had been set to resolve some of the issues that led to the strike action.
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), has declared a three-day warning strike beginning 12 midnight, ahead of their meeting with the federal government on Wednesday.
The President of the union, Mr Igwe Achese, told journalists in Abuja after an emergency meeting of the union, that the strike is to press for the implementation of the agreement reached with the oil companies on staff welfare, mediated by the federal government in 2016.
He however explained that the continuation or otherwise of the strike beyond Wednesday, January 11, would be determined by the outcome of a joint meeting between the union and the federal government on Wednesday.
The President of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) Mr Igwe Achese has advised the federal government to re-engage the services of a security outfit managed by some ex-militants in the Niger Delta for the security of crude oil facilities in the region.
The union leader, who decried the effects of vandalism of oil installations on the nation’s revenue, said that the re-engagement of the private security outfit which was hired by the last administration is the quick fix to the problem of vandalism in the region.
“Nigeria is at the cross road. We are a living witness to workers being laid off daily. The national oil revenue has dwindled with the global oil loot.
“The low price of crude oil fluctuates around 38 and 34 dollars while those working are owed old salaries for upfront of 6 months, it is a very sad story, and the trade union movement is the worst hit in the oil and gas industry as redundancy has become the order of the day. So far over 3,000 workers have been retrenched since the recession began.
“We found out the frequent vandalism of pipelines by so called militants which has inflicted our supply of the crude oil for export. We therefore call on the federal government to increase security surveillance to speed the task in establishing pipeline protection agency being fully committed to reduce the surge. This we have always been making,” he said.
He also urged the federal government to establish a pipeline protection agency that will provide a long-term solution to the problems of vandalism and other forms of criminality in the Niger Delta.
“That the pipeline protection agency should be created, in the interim, we suggest that the former private security outfit hired by the last administration to secure the pipelines be reinstated so that there will be no further destruction of oil facilities which enables us make 2.8 billion barrels per day production.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that four cargoes of about 4 million litres of petroleum products is being expected in the country within the next few days.
The spokesman of the Agency, Garba Mohammed, gave the assurance on Friday.
According to him, this will address the gap in supply that has led to the current fuel scarcity being experienced by Nigerians.
He said that the NNPC is working round the clock to find immediate and lasting solutions to the problems in the sector.
The National President of the National Union Of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Mr Igwe Achese, had earlier said that he was hopeful that before the end of April, the petrol scarcity witnessed across Nigeria would end.
He said that the union had, at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, advised the government to put in necessary policies that would adequately regulate the prices of petroleum products.
Mr Achese told Channels Television in a telephone interview that the stakeholders at the meeting agreed to work together in making sure that product distribution is not hindered.
In a statement by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Garba Deen Muhammed, the NNPC assured Nigerians that the fuel shortages will be over in a matter of weeks, not months and that the fuel shortage would improve sufficiently to make the long queues disappear, correcting “the erroneous impression created that fuel shortage will linger for two months”.
The House of Representatives has mandated a joint committee of the House to prevent the Minister of State for Petroleum from usurping the powers of the legislature by attempting to unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) without legislative approval.
The motion, sponsored by Rep. Agom Jarigbe, advised President Muhammadu Buhari to send an executive bill to the National Assembly if he intends to unbundle the NNPC or carry out any fundamental reforms in the oil and gas sector.
The House also condemned the declaration by the minister describing it as the executive legislation.
This decision was reached at a meeting of the Group Executive Councils of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), which held on on Tuesday, March 8.
After “extensively discussing the pronouncement”, they “observed that the GMD/HMSP totally disregarded due process and failed to engage stakeholders.
“Hence, from midnight today (Tuesday, March 8), all NNPC locations will be shut down completely until further notice. Further directives will be communicated accordingly”.
Speaking in a telephone interview with Channels Television, President of NUPENG, Mr Igwe Achese, said the unbundling process was not transparent.
Residents of Owerri, Imo State capital, have been groaning in agony over the lingering fuel crisis across Nigeria.
This is because many of them have had to stay over two days on long queues to buy petrol for 87 Naira per litre at Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) petrol stations.
Other independent petroleum marketers have been selling petrol at the rate of 200 Naira per litre, a situation which the people have bitterly complained about.
They appealed to the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, find a lasting solution to this problem, as it is crippling activities in all sectors in the state.
Speaking to Channels Television, an official from one of the NNPC mega stations within the metropolis disclosed that the product was available in large quantity, but lack of patience and panic buying has been the cause of the long queues.
He added that the station had to extend their selling time till late in the night, for people to get petrol.
The National President of NUPENG, Mr Igwe Achese, said that Nigerians would continue to experience scarcity and inflation in prices of petroleum products from time to time unless the NNPC returned to its statutory role, as the sole importer of petrol.