Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Tuesday warned against an attempt by workers to disrupt oil production activities at the Shell Petroleum Development Company’s (SPDC) Forcados Export Terminal in Burutu Local Government Area of the state.
The governor gave the warning at a meeting in Government House, Warri Annex after brokering peace between the management of WHASSAN, a catering firm and its workers following a conflict which disrupted oil production activities in the area.
Okowa, represented by the Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Prince Emmanuel Amgbaduba, urged both parties to agree to terms that would ensure smooth operations of the company in Forcados terminal.
He said that his administration would no longer condone further disruption of operations at the terminal by any aggrieved group or firm.
He said that their continued rift had caused a dip in oil production in the country.
The governor recalled that the dispute between WHASSAN and its employees over workers’ welfare had led to shutting down of activities at Nigeria’s major oil export terminal.
He noted that the disagreement which started as a mere workers’ demand for their welfare entitlements later escalated to denying other workers within the terminal food and other catering services.
Okowa, who was disturbed by the development, ordered that normal operations should resume at the terminal following an urgent meeting of stakeholders to resolve the rift.
He directed the firm (WHASSAN) to promptly pay pensions and other entitlements of their workers or face the risk of termination of the contract.
“Let me emphasise here that government is not happy with the incessant disruption of operations in the terminal on account of workers welfare. Okowa said.
“The company must do everything possible to pay the workers their entitlements or risk termination of their contract.
“The country largely depends on oil exports from the Forcados Terminal to earn revenue for the provision of infrastructure and other developmental needs for our people and we will no longer condone avoidable disruption in operations.
“We need a peaceful environment for all firms operating in the state to help us generate the much-needed revenues for our development,” the governor said.
Responding, Human Resources Manager of WHASSAN Martha Ikenga said the company was happy with government’s intervention on the matter.
She reiterated the company’s preparedness to comply with the resolutions reached the meeting.
The workers on their part pledged never to stop operations again over default of payment but channel such grievances to the government through the Ministry of Oil and Gas.
In the meeting were the SPDC’s Community Interface Coordinator, Mr Jerry-Gaultney Udjo; Chairmen of Ogulagha, Obotobo I and II communities, the communities’ Youth Presidents and Chairmen and Secretaries of Community Trusts of the various communities.
Others are the management of the catering company and the representatives of the aggrieved staff members.