BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
PORT HARCOURT—PRESIDENT of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Mr. Abdulwaheed Omar, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, warned that oil thieves were a greater threat to the corporate survival of Nigeria than any other thing. He called on the Federal Government to urgently arrest the situation before it became too late.
He spoke at the opening ceremony of the Third Quadrennial Delegates Conference, QDC, of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, with the theme, Reforms in the Oil and Gas Industry: Catalyst for National Growth and Development, What prospect for the attainment of Decent Work Agenda?
Urging NUPENG to drive the reform process in the petroleum industry, Omar said: “The average oil worker is at risk, from hostile environment to the threat of kidnapping and assassination. Like other workers, workers in the oil and gas industry have the right to peace and security at the work place. This is even more so with the goose that lays the golden eggs, who the oil workers in Nigeria are. Production output has substantially dropped for various reasons. Crude oil theft has risen to an unacceptable level.
“This theft, unfortunately, is perpetrated by a combination of dark forces in our polity. These forces are more of a threat to our corporate entity than any other force that you may think of. The challenges therefore, are many and the tasks require our collective resolve to excel as a nation. We must therefore, rise to state that our government must take the lead by acting rather than lamenting.
“Another challenge is the issue of domestic refining of our crude, which will guarantee availability and affordability of products, and above all, will create jobs for our youths. Today, local refining is carried out in several illegal local and improvised refineries. This underscores the dire need for domestic refining of the products. That is why I am using this opportunity to commend the indefatigable business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, for taking up the challenge of establishing a refinery in Nigeria.”
Earlier, Chairman of the occasion, President of Dangote group, Alhaji Dangote, told the gathering that among others, the proposed $9billion mega refinery/petrochemical /fertilizer complex in Olokola Free trade zone, between Ogun and Ondo States, in the next four years during construction period, would create no fewer than 25,000 jobs.
In his welcome address, NUPENG President, Igwe Ahese, lamented the increasing loss of jobs in the industry and the alarming cases of unfair labour and employment practices in the sector.