PENGASSAN Raises Alarm Over High Cost Of Food, Cooking Gas

A file photo of a woman at a market.

 

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has raised an alarm over the increasing cost of food and cooking gas in the country.

In a statement jointly signed by its President – Festus Osifo, and General Secretary – Lumumba Okugbawa, the union lamented that the nation was degenerating into a land plagued with hunger.

The people’s purchasing power, according to its, has seriously worsened as the prices of food in the market have continued to rise in the last three years.

It blamed the situation on the devaluation of the naira against major currencies, displacement of farmers by bandits and terrorists, and inconsistent policies of the government, among others.

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According to PENGASSAN, farmers in Benue, Plateau, Katsina, Nasarawa, and Taraba States cannot readily access their farmlands due to security threats.

On the cost of Liquified Natural Gas (LPG), commonly referred to as cooking gas, it lamented that the price of refilling a 12.5kg-cylinder has risen by almost 100 per cent.

The union believes poor families are going through harrowing experiences in their struggle to cope, even as the price of kerosene has since surged despite the unavailability of the product

It also asked the government to encourage its workers rather than making it mandatory to take the COVID-19 vaccine, adding the deregulation of the downstream oil sector must be based on domestic refining and not import-dependent.

Read the statement dated November 30, 2021, below:

PENGASSAN ON THE STATE OF NATION

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) wishes to bring to the attention of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and other critical stakeholders to some of the burning issues in our national polity and the existential need for Government to put the interest of the citizens first in all its dealings.

We strongly advocate that Government must develop a strong mechanism in tracking how its macroeconomic policies, be it fiscal or monetary, affect the disposable income of individuals and households in the country.

The Association has noted and sadly so, that most of the recent macro-economic policies of the Government have further exacerbated the economic hardship faced by our members and Nigerians in general.

If this poverty induced policies are not urgently checked and correctional measures put in place, we could assure you that the little shred of hope that the citizens have in the country will fast erode and this could degenerate the already challenging security situation and grossly affect the level of governance.

Some of the prevailing issues that are affecting the general populace and require urgent attention are as follows:

  1. FORCED VACCINATION ON NIGERIANS

PENGASSAN have observed with dismay the recent directive accompanied with threats by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) that Civil Servants, specifically Federal Government Employees, would from December 1 st 2021, shall be required to present proof of vaccination or negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests, conducted within 72 hours to gain access to their offices in all locations in Nigeria and the Missions.

We consider this directive and threats as unbecoming, draconian and against the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that the Government pledged to always uphold. The Association has earlier admonished providers of labour to sensitise and advocate to its employees on the advantages of taking COVID-19 vaccines and not to issue threats to the workforce.

We wish to request that the undemocratic and anti-masses directives, that infringes on the right of the citizens be stopped and withdrawn with immediate effect.

  1. HIGH COST OF FOOD

The Nation is fast degenerating into a land plagued with hunger as if famine has descended on our beloved Nation. The purchasing power of the already pauperised disposable income of the citizens has greatly degenerated as the cost of food in the market has gone up astronomically in the last three years.

Whereas the astronomically increase in the cost of food, wages are at best stagnant and in some cases reduced unilaterally and drastically. This could be attributable to several factors that are not limited to the gross devaluation of the Naira against major currencies, displacement of farmers by bandits and terrorists, inconsistent policies of Government, etc.

To further exacerbate the looming dangers caused by food insecurity, farmers in states such as Benue, Plateau, Katsina, Nasarawa, and Taraba cannot readily access their farmlands due to myriads of security challenges occasioned by incompetence and lack of patriotism.

It is necessary to secure the farmers and their farmlands as aggregate food production by the local farmers is the bedrock on which the systems of our food security rest.

  1. HIGH COST OF LPG

The Association wishes to further bring to the attention of Government the hyperinflation that has greeted Liquified Natural Gas (LPG), commonly referred to as cooking gas. It is disheartening to note that the price of refilling a 12.5kg cylinder of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (cooking gas) has risen by almost 100% percent over the past one year.

This is one singular product that is used by several households in the country. Currently, the cost of cooking gas has continued in steady climb from an average of 4,500 Naira at the beginning of 2021 to the current price of between 8,750 and 10,000 Naira for the popular 12.5kg cylinder.

We are worried that most middle to upper-class homes, especially in the urban areas, are feeling the pinch. The poorer families are going through harrowing experiences trying to cope, more so as the price of kerosene had long taken flight in addition to being scarce in many places. Despite Nigeria sitting on one of the largest gas reserves in the world, we still depend largely on imported gas. Up to 70 per cent of the gas we consume in the country is imported.

Some of the reasons attributable to this skyrocket increment is the devaluation of the Naira against major currencies and the introduction of a value-added tax of 7.5% on imported gas, an increase in the international price of gas, etc. We hereby call on the President to immediately abolish the VAT on gas importation, prevent further slide of the Naira, channel some of the exported gas to domestic use, and provide some form of verifiable palliatives for the lower-class citizens.

  1. DEREGULATION OF PMS

The history of deregulating the downstream oil sector through gradual or total subsidy removal has engendered intense debates between PENGASSAN, successive Governments, stakeholders, and experts in the oil and gas sector with each claiming that it will guarantee long term stability in product supply and price. And that it will lead to an advance and well-developed economic transformation in the country.

PENGASSAN as an Association and a major stakeholder in the industry do not have issues with all the advantages, they claim that deregulations will usher into the economy because we understand the workings within the industry and therefore stand in a pole position on issues that border it. While maintaining our support for the full deregulation of the sector, we however reiterate that we will only support a deregulation exercise based on domestic refining and not import-dependent.

Therefore, effort should be made to increase the pace of the current Refinery rehabilitation and support the continuous strengthening of the Naira. Conclusively, we wish to admonish the Government at all levels to quickly come together and find urgent solutions in the short and long term to the myriad of issues plaguing the Nation to reduce the difficulties faced by the citizens.

A stitch in time saves nine.

For: PETROLEUM AND NATURAL GAS SENIOR STAFF ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (PENGASSAN).

Comrade Lumumba .I. Okugbawa, MINM                              Comrade Festus Osifo

General Secretary, PENGASSAN                                                 President, PENGASSAN

Strike: Govt’s Negligence Brought Us Where We Are Today – PENGASSAN

Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has accused the Federal Government of negligence in the manner it is handling the concerns raised by the union.

PENGASSAN President, Festus Osifo, who made the allegation on Monday said that has led the union to its present position.

Amid the ongoing nationwide strike by the oil workers, he stated that the union made several attempts to resolve the issues raised as a result of the shortfall in workers’ salaries and arrears.

“It is negligence on the part of the government representatives, that we are where we are today,” Osifo said during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

The issues raised by the oil and gas workers were a fallout of the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) by the government regarding the payment of salaries.

While the union said that it does not have a preference for any tool used by the government to pay salaries, workers’ remuneration must be paid without any shortfall.

Osifo decried that the arrears and allowances of some union members at the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), were ceased sometimes in the year.

He explained that the conversation on the issue of IPPIS started several years ago and PENGASSAN engaged relevant government agencies on how the platform should be structured to take cognisance of workers’ pay in the oil and gas sector.

“We agreed with the government that we should set up a technical committee that will look into these issues one after the other, to be sure that our specific earning in the oil and gas industry is taken care of.

“At the end of the day, the committee was set up but the government was not committed to it, we fixed a date for a meeting and when our members get there, we will wait from morning till night, and nothing was done,” the PENGASSAN president said.

He added, “For us in PENGASSAN, we don’t specifically mind the tool that the government will use in paying our salaries, but what we are saying is that any tool that you want to use in paying our salaries must not short-change our members.

“Today, they have forcefully enrolled our members in NNRA without data capturing and without biometrics.

“In NNRA today, they paid them the last two months salary via IPPIS and it will shock you to note that most of our members got at least 30 per cent reduction in their pay and a lot of allowances that they earn were nor paid as well.”

Channels Television made an attempt to get a representative of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to respond to the allegations but nobody showed up before the end of the breakfast show.

Fuel Scarcity Looms As PENGASSAN Declares Nationwide Strike

 

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has declared a nationwide strike, sparking fears of fuel scarcity in the country.

PENGASSAN President, Festus Osifo, confirmed the union’s position during his appearance on Sunrise Daily on Monday.

“Today, PENGASSAN has declared a strike,” he said in an interview on the Channels Television breakfast programme.

He added, “Today our members are sitting at home and we will continually watch the situation and if we need to rev it up, we will definitely rev it up.”

Osifo explained that the industrial action followed the inability of the Federal Government to address the issues raised by the oil and gas workers.

He stated that the union had given the government a seven-day ultimatum in a statement issued on Monday last week to respond to the issues.

A file photo of an attendant filling the fuel tank of a car.

 

Another issue that is of concern to the union, according to the PENGASSAN president, is that relating to the action of a private oil company.

He accused the company of destroying PENGASSAN structure in its workforce, stressing that the management sacked literarily all union executive members and went ahead to lock members out for a very long time.

 

Govt’s Negligence Brought Us Where We Are

The major issues raised by the oil and gas workers were a fallout of the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) by the government regarding the payment of salaries.

In his reaction, Osifo accused the government of negligence in the manner it was handling the issues, saying that has led the union to take the decision to go on strike.

He stated that the union made several attempts to resolve the issues raised as a result of the shortfall in workers’ salaries and arrears.

“It is negligence on the part of the government representatives, that we are where we are today.”

While the union said that it does not have a preference for any tool used by the government to pay salaries, workers’ remuneration must be paid without any shortfall.

Osifo decried that the arrears and allowances of some union members at the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), were ceased sometimes in the year.

 

Do Not Short-Change Our Members

He explained that the conversation on the issue of IPPIS started several years ago and PENGASSAN engaged relevant government agencies on how the platform should be structured to take cognisance of workers’ pay in the oil and gas sector.

“We agreed with the government that we should set up a technical committee that will look into these issues one after the other, to be sure that our specific earning in the oil and gas industry is taken care of.

“At the end of the day, the committee was set up but the government was not committed to it, we fixed a date for a meeting and when our members get there, we will wait from morning till night, and nothing was done,” the PENGASSAN president said.

He added, “For us in PENGASSAN, we don’t specifically mind the tool that the government will use in paying our salaries, but what we are saying is that any tool that you want to use in paying our salaries must not short-change our members.

“Today, they have forcefully enrolled our members in NNRA without data capturing and without biometrics.

“In NNRA today, they paid them the last two months salary via IPPIS and it will shock you to note that most of our members got at least 30 per cent reduction in their pay and a lot of allowances that they earn were nor paid as well.”

Channels Television made an attempt to get a representative of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to respond to the allegations but nobody showed up before the end of the breakfast show.

Unpaid Salaries: NUPENG, PENGASSAN Protest, Threaten Nationwide Strike

workers of NUPENG and PENGASSAN protest over unpaid salaries

 

The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have threatened to embark on a nationwide strike.

The unions threatened to go on strike with effect on Sunday if the Federal Government fails to pay their three months salary arrears.

Expressing their displeasure with the development, the protesting members went to the headquarters of the Petroleum Trust Development Funds (PTF) claiming that the Federal Government is withholding their salaries since May 2020 for failing to migrate to the Integrated Payroll System.

The unions insisted that they are not against the Integrated Payroll System but needed the clarification of grey areas before the implementation of the new scheme.

One of the protesting members speaking on behalf of his colleagues lamented on the non-payment of salary.

He said, “for the past three months we have not been paid our salaries, we have engaged with the government and IPPIS.”

The protesters who were dressed in red attire carried placards written, “No To Forceful Enrollment into IPPIS”,  “Release Our Salaries Now”, “We Are Not Against IPPIS but Create Another Platform That Addresses Our Peculiarities,” “We have families and dependents pay our salaries, pay Nigerian workers, pay our three months’ salaries” among others.

protesting unions carry placards with inscriptions, pay Nigerian workers

After listening to the unions, the Executive Secretary of PTDF, Aliyu Gusau, who spoke on behalf of the Minister of State for Petroleum, assured the members that their message will be delivered to the minister.

Executive Secretary of PTDF, Aliyu Gusau, addresses the protesting unions

“I want to commend you all for the orderly manner you all are conducting yourselves.

“I also want to commend the approach you all are using to engage with the Federal Government, I’m aware of some these issues and also aware of the efforts the minister is trying to use to solve these issues.

“I want to assure you that all your messages will be communicated with emphasis to the minister who is away in Yeanogoa, but I want to appeal to you all at all times to always put the interest of the nation ahead of anything else.

“Your grieves are real and as a matter of fact these issues can be resolved through positive engagement with the government”, he added.

NUPENG, PENGASSAN Accuse NNPC Of Sacking 850 Oil Workers

Oil Output
A file photo of the refinery in Kaduna, a state in north-west Nigeria.

 

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is alleged to have sacked 850 contract staff working in the nation’s refineries.

This is according to a statement jointly signed by the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN).

It was signed by Williams Akporeha (NUPENG National President), Ndukaku Ohaeri (PENGASSAN National President), Afolabi Olawale (NUPENG General Secretary), and Lumumba Okugbawa (PENGASSAN General Secretary).

The unions also faulted the comments purportedly made by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, on refineries and oil and gas workers in the country.

They accused the minister of claiming that the refineries have not been working for three years while workers have continued to receive salaries and promotions.

He was also said to have blamed the oil workers for the sorry state of the refineries and that the union threatened to go on strike when NNPC said it would sack support staff.

In their response, the unions said the purported comments were laced with fabricated misinformation, misrepresentation of facts and falsehoods.

They said such comments were uncharitable and appalling, alleging that the minister was only making attempt to blamed what they described as the policy failure, maladministration, lack of foresight, and mismanagement of the refineries on hapless workers.

“On the purported threat of the Group Managing Director of NNPC to sack workers, we wish to state here that it was actually no more a threat but that it had already been carried out with the sack of 850 support staff in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, throwing almost a thousand workers into hard financial situation without an iota of empathy or consultation with the union,” the statement said.

The unions denied the claim that they threatened to go on strike, saying they demanded to be engaged for a proper discussion on the commensurate terminal benefits of the workers who have worked for 10 to 15 years.

“If a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Group Managing Director of NNPC can dismiss contract workers that have served for more than 10 years continuously as if they are rodents, what more can we expect from lOCs?

“The monthly salaries of 25 of these contract staff put together cannot equal a typical management staff salary of the same organisation,” the statement added.

When contacted for its reaction, the NNPC told Channels Television that it would speak about the allegations on Wednesday.

COVID-19: NUPENG, PENGASSAN Warn Against Attempts By Oil Companies To Sack Workers

An oil pumpjack operates in Signal Hill, south of Los Angeles, California on April 21, 2020, a day after oil prices dropped to below zero as the oil industry suffers steep falls in benchmark crudes due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic. Frederic J. BROWN / AFP.

 

The leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), have said that any attempt by multinational and indigenous Oil and Gas Companies to downsize, sack, or introduce indecent work system on its members would be resisted.

In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, the leadership of the unions stated that they sympathise with the employers over the negative impacts COVID-19 is having on the industry and business operations, but the moves if not properly checked, will further complicate the already impoverished state of Nigerian Oil and Gas Workers.

“The leadership of NUPENGASSAN condemn these moves and vow to resist them with all our might, as the moves are seen as unfair to the selfless and patriotic services of the Nigerian Oil and Gas workers to these Companies and the Nation over these past highly productive years and even when these workers are still fully participating in the frontline of the struggle against the pandemic rendering essential services.

These moves if not properly checked and managed by relevant authorities whose guidelines are being continually disobeyed by these Organisations will further complicate the already impoverished state of Nigerian Oil and Gas Workers, their immediate family and others depending on the workers’ incomes, for a living.”

The unions also called on the Federal Government to “urgently nip these ugly trends in the bud to avoid many untoward and damaging consequences of the actions and reactions.

The statement added that the unions will be forced to carry out an action that will affect the entire industry if the trend is not halted.

“The Federal Government and all its relevant Agencies are further put on notice that NUPENGASSAN might be forced to precipitate an action that will affect drastically the entire industry if this ugly trend is not halted and erring Organisations called to order.

“We earnestly implore these Companies that in the same manner and spirit they are making donations for the fight against COVID-19, they should also spare some kind thoughts for their Workers and strive to keep them alive and on the job so as not to create social upheavals that would be more devastating than the COVID19 pandemic.”

PENGASSAN Backs Sack Of Service Chiefs

President Muhammadu Buhari met with the service chiefs on Thursday, January 30, 2020.
President Muhammadu Buhari met with the service chiefs on Thursday, January 30, 2020.

 

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on Monday said it is in support of the House of Representatives’ demand for the immediate resignation of the nation’s service chiefs.

The oil union, in a statement signed by its General Secretary, Comrade Lumumba Okugbawa, said the service chiefs have failed in their duty to “tackle the rising wave of criminality and alarming increase of insecurity” in the country.

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The union said it was reiterating its call for a state of emergency to be declared on the country’s security situation.

“We cannot continue to guarantee the current industrial peace in our sector should there be no improvement on the part of the federal government in arresting this trend as recorded in 2019,” the statement said.

Address Pipeline Vandalism, Crude Oil Theft, PENGASSAN Tells NNPC Boss, Kyari

Pipeline Security: NUPENG Recommends Re-engagement of Ex-Militants

 

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), has asked Mr Mele Kyari to address challenges associated with pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft and inadequate infrastructure.

Mr Kyari replaced Dr Maikanti Baru as the 19th Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Monday.

The Association in a congratulatory massage signed by its General Secretary, Lumumba. I. Okugbawa, described Mr. Kyari’s appointment as well-deserved and a recognition of his 27 years contributions and did not come as a surprise to the Association.

“Your appointment did not come to our Association as a surprise, because it is a testament to your hard work, dedication to duty and exemplary leadership quality.

”GMD Sir, we agree that the Nation’s oil and gas industry is on a steady progression to the next level. However, the challenges associated with pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft, inadequate infrastructure, pricing uncertainties, and the obsolete Refineries as well as the contentious fuel subsidy issues and resting of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) are issues the Nigerian masses expect the new NNPC Board to champion.”

The association also commended the recent-past GMD Dr Maikanti Baru for his contributions to the growth of the industry said that history will remember him for his good works that brought stability to the industry in terms of Industrial Relations management and free flow of refined products.

PENGASSAN President, Johnson Dies In Abuja

 

The President, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Francis Johnson is dead.

Johnson died in the early hours of Friday at the National Hospital Abuja, after a brief illness.

This was disclosed in a statement jointly signed by the Deputy President of the Association, Frank Esanubi, and the Secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa.

Johnson was on the final lap of his six-year tenure as PENGASSAN President before his demise.

“On behalf of the National Executive Council (NEC), Central Working Committee (CWC), members and staff of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), we announce the untimely and painful death of Comrade Francis Olabode Johnson, President PENGASSAN in the early hours of Friday 31st May 2019 at National Hospital Abuja, after a brief illness.

“Late Comrade F.O. Johnson until his passing on was a staff of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and was on the final lap of his eventful and transformational six years tenure as President PENGASSAN, having been elected to that position in June 2014 and re-elected in 2017.

“Comrade Johnson will be remembered by his comrades, co-workers, family and friends for being thoughtful, humorous, compassionate and transparent as he touched the lives of so many and was the very embodiment of strength, patience, and perseverance,” the statement read in parts.

The statement added that Johnson’s attributes propelled him to develop a deep connection with nature, zest for life and the total transformation of PENGASSAN National Secretariat.

He is said to have initiated the e-library and Events Resources Centres in all of the Zonal offices of the association.

Burial rites will be communicated to the general public soon.

NNPC Asks NUPENG, PENGASSAN To Suspend Planned Strike

NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru.

 

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, has asked oil workers to suspend their planned strike over a labour dispute involving the Management of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) and its staff.

The unions are the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).

In a statement by the NNPC Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu said, the corporation’s GMD had directed its Management to work with other stakeholders to resolve the issue raised by the leadership of the Oil Industry unions.

He said, the unions had recently called on the National Assembly, the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the NNPC, the Department of State Services (DSS), to intercede in a brewing impasse between CNL and its staff in Nigeria over the company’s disclosure that the contracts with all its manpower services providers would expire by the end of October 2018.

According to him, the unions last Wednesday put its members on red alert fearing the new manpower services contracts may not serve the interests its members.

While thanking the oil workers for their exemplary conduct and show of support through the years, the GMD appealed to the Unions not to do anything that would disrupt the industrial harmony that has pervaded the sector, saying the gains of recent past, if care is not taken, can be frittered away inadvertently.

Dr. Baru expressed optimism that the current dispute would soon be amicably settled.

Meanwhile, the NNPC has allayed the concerns of motorists and other consumers of petroleum products over possible hiccups in supply in parts of the country due to the oil workers’ ultimatum, assuring that NNPC holds adequate storage of petroleum products across the country to take care of the national demand.

Plateau Killings: Change Your Strategies, PENGASSAN Tells Security Agencies

 

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has asked security agencies to improve their efforts and strategies in bringing an end to violence and wanton killings across the country.

PENGASSAN’s National Public Relations Officer, Comrade Fortune Obi, said this in a statement on Thursday, in reaction to the latest attack on communities in Jos, Plateau State, which left at least 100 persons killed.

“PENGASSAN notes that the Security Agencies, especially the police seem helpless in the face of the mindless and unprovocative killing of innocent Nigerians.

“We, therefore, call for more recruitment into all arms of the Security Agencies, including the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and also advise the Security Agencies to review their strategies to put an end to the killing.

“The Security Agencies should improve their relationship with the communities to enable them to get necessary information before any attacks”, it said.

Furthermore, the group condemned the killings, especially as the cattle breeders association, Meyatti Allah had allegedly said the killing was a reprisal following the rustling of several cows.

“We equally frown at the statement by a spokesman Meyatti Allah that the killings were in response to rustling of about 100 cattle in the area.

“This is not an excuse for lawlessness in a country that has government and security apparatus to handle issues,” the company said.

While commiserating with families of the victims, the people and Government of Plateau State, PENGASSAN, however, called on the government and security agencies to take immediate action.

It said beyond condemning the killings, the government ought to deploy a special squad of military and other forces permanently to troubled prone areas to bring a permanent stop to it.

“Besides, we implore the Government to deploy a special squad of military and other forces permanently to trouble-prone areas of Benue, Taraba and Plateau states. The Federal Government should rise above just condemning such killings and courageously do all it takes to protect the lives and properties of citizens which is the whole essence of governance”.

PENGASSAN Worried Over Continuous Black Soot In Port Harcourt    

Why We Suspended Nationwide Strike – PENGASSAN

 

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called on the Federal Government to stop illegal refineries causing black soot in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital.

The Union says that the soot which is in form of black smoke covers the entire state capital causing respiratory problems being experienced by inhabitants in the city which has health implications worse than Ebola.

PENGASSAN through its spokesman, Fortune Obi, says that the issues are not being addressed because most of the people affected are still performing their daily task but experts have confirmed the soot to be carcinogenic.

“The black soot settles on everything and finds its way into the corners of living rooms no matter how hard people try to stop it. Food items in Port Harcourt markets are as well not spared from getting mixed with this deadly soot that is ever present everywhere,” he stated.

He added that PENGASSAN in collaboration with other concerned bodies and citizens have severally created awareness to call the attention of the government to act swiftly and put an end to whatever is the source of this killer soot.

“Majority believed that the source of this soot is due to ‘’incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons as well as asphalt processing, burning of barges/vessels used for oil bunkering and illegal artisanal refinery operations” in some parts of the state.

“There is a need for collaboration among all stakeholders to end this environmental hazard. We, therefore, call on the State and the Federal Government to put a strategic action in place to finally address this black soot and put an end to whatever is the source.

“This is not the time to play politics with people’s lives. The Federal and State Governments, security agencies as well as all agencies in charge of environment including National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and its Rivers State counterpart, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSRDA), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and other agencies handling related issues should tow a defined and safe path in handling illegal oil vessels as well as the criminal act of illegal refining of crude oil that are said to be the key reason of this menace.

“The governments should also involve the locals and possibly constitute them into Environmental councils to monitor their areas for any possible illegal refining of the crude and such other dangerous acts that are inimical to human existence.”

Mr Obi has called on the Federal Government to arrest those committing these crimes.