Just when Nigerians thought that the recent fuel scarcity would be coming to an end, latest news reveals that Staffs of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation under the aegis of two unions, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), yesterday shut down all NNPC locations nationwide and went on an indefinite strike to protest against the federal government’s restructuring of the state-run oil firm.
The corporate headquarters of NNPC on Wednesday morning shutdown operations, the branches of both union followed suit.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu on Tuesday night at a press briefing in Abuja announced that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the restructuring of the NNPC into seven new divisions.
Kachikwu explained that under the new structure, NNPC will have five core new divisions comprising the upstream, downstream, refining, gas and power, and the ventures groups.
Two other groups – finance and services – were also created while the number of NNPC’s subsidiaries was expanded from 16 to 20.
He explained that the restructuring did not amount to unbundling or breakdown of the corporation thereby assuring workers that there will be no lay offs from the new corporate engineering.
The corporation worker said what prompted their decision to down tools was that they were not carried along in the entire process
First thing yesterday morning, the main entrance to the corporation was barricaded, while staff of NNPC and its subsidiaries located at the headquarters were turned back by the protesting union members.
The national president of NUPENG, Mr. Igwe Achese confirmed the closure of NNPC by the union, saying the national body had tried to mediate when it realised that was the offing but its advice was not heeded.
But during a press briefing last night by the branch chairpersons of NUPENG and PENGASSAN in Abuja, they directed their members to proceed on indefinite strike nationwide starting from midnight of March 8
NUPENG’s branch chairman Odudu Benjamin Udofia, said at the briefing that the government embarked on the restructuring and refused to intimate stakeholders in the corporation.
Speaking further, the branch chair for PENGASSAN, Saleh Abdullahi explained that the union was not against a restructuring of the NNPC but that it should be transparently done.