Nigerians are staunchly bracing themselves for another grueling fuel crisis as oil workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria ( PENGASSAN) as they commenced another industrial strike action yesterday to press home their various demands from the federal government.
The union has announced the gradual withdrawal of its members on the offshore, loading bays and flow stations.
But debunking a media report in one of the television stations which claimed that the strike had been called off, the association said that the strike had actually begun despite the Eid el-Fitr public holidays declared by the federal government.
A statement by PENGASSAN’s national public relations officer, Comrade Emmanuel Ojugbana, declared that “there is no iota of truth in the report that the strike has been called off or suspended. As we are speaking now, some of our members in the offshore have been withdrawn, while others who are on critical equipment have commenced gradual shutting down of such equipment before their final disengagement.
“Our members, especially those in offices and downstream sector, will join tomorrow (Friday) as they resume from the Eid el-Fitr holiday.”
Comrade Ojugbana reiterated that the strike was aimed at pressing home PENGASSAN’s demands for government’s attention to some critical challenges affecting the survival of the nation’s oil and gas industry.
He listed some of the challenges to include lingering irregular Joint Venture (JV) funding and cash call payment arrears, lack of a clear-cut direction on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), forceful co-option of government agencies in the industry into the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) and the spate of redundancy and retrenchments in the oil and gas industry.
He also said that the union could not meet with government as a result of short time given to it as it has mobilize the members.