The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) yesterday gave the Federal Government a 14-day-ultimatum to intervene in what it termed the abuse of the judicial process in the protracted leadership crisis within the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) failing which it will mobilise members for a nationwide strike.
NUPENG President, Igwe Achese, made this known at a press conference in Lagos, while expressing the union’s concern over the judgement passed by the High Court Justice Valentine Ashi on Wednesday overturning the judgement of a high court in Port Harcourt on the 20th of March 2014.
He expressed sadness that the judiciary could allow itself to be used to truncate justice, adding that the judgement has discredited the judiciary and the wheel of justice, equity and truth.
He therefore appealed to the Chief Justice of the Federation and Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Justice (Mrs.) Alooma Muktar to intervene in the abuse of the judiciary process, especially the “sale of judgement, when an appeal on the case is still pending at the court of appeal, Port Harcourt”.
He equally called on the intervention of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice on the abuse of the courts to obtain Kangaroo judgement, as done in the judgement given in the IPMAN Crisis at the High Court in Abuja on Wednesday.
“We condemn the judgement in its entirety and still stand by the judgement of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, which declared Chief Obasi Lawson as the IPMAN President, until a superior court of law says otherwise.
“The idea of using the judiciary to buy judgement does not augur well for the democratic process that the nation has been enjoying for the past 15 years. It does not in any way protect the constitution of our great country in the eyes of the world”, Achese said.
Speaking further, he said the union was involved in the leadership crisis because 60 per cent of IPMAN members are in NUPENG, adding that the union cannot fold its hands and allow members in IPMAN to suffer.
He noted that the collective bargaining agreement signed with IPMAN and Independent Marketers Branch was yet to be implemented for about 10 years due to the leadership crisis that has become the hallmark of the petroleum marketers association.
The past leadership of IPMAN, he lamented, had frustrated the union’s efforts towards unionising workers in IPMAN depots.
He said the union had written several letters to the federal government, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the State Security Services for their intervention, adding that the efforts had not yielded any positive result due to the non-challant attitude of the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke on the crisis.
“There have been intervention and reconciliation by the Department of State Security Services but the outcome was never adhered to by the Aminu Abdukadir’s faction. They deliberately refused to obey the court judgement of the federal High court in Port Harcourt that declared Chief Obasi Lawson as the IPMAN President”, he regretted.
“We advise the Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo faction, to first of all go and vacate the judgment in favour of Chief Obasi Lawson, in a higher competent court of jurisdiction (Appeal Court) before parading themselves and supporters as the national executive of IPMAN,” the NUPENG boss said. [Thisday]