Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has urged the federal government to establish a Pipeline Protection Agency (PPA) to ensure the nation’s pipelines are kept safe from vandals.
NUPENG President, Comrade Achese Igwe, who spoke at the union’s National Education Seminar in Enugu, said the body should be provided with new technologies and sophisticated weaponry to guard the pipeline.
Igwe also decried the increasing cases of unfair labour practices in the country’s petroleum sector.
“The oil and gas industry is passing through turbulent times now as the multinationals are devising all kinds of unhealthy industrial relations methods to emasculate our members out of the system.
“It is sad to note that NUPENG members in the formal sector are at the receiving end, as we are faced with negotiating redundancies almost on a daily basis now,” Igwe said.
He said members of the union have been depleting daily due to retrenchments, which has become commonplace in the petroleum sector of Nigeria.
“The practice of industrial relations has assumed a new dimension that portends danger for the union, with the politics now involved in the privatisation, divestments of onshore oil fields hitherto owned by these big multinational oil companies.”
Igwe added that the issue of outsourcing and casualisation has become a cankerworm and a wound that has refused to heal in the industry. There is therefore fragile peace in the industrial relations atmosphere in the oil and gas industry.
“The time bomb is waiting to blow fully, despite the pockets of actions lately,” said Igwe.
He therefore called on the government to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which has been before the National Assembly for about four years. This he noted will “address all these challenges facing the oil and gas industry to ensure transparency, accountability and autonomy.