How to check oil theft, by PENGASSAN
Oil workers under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has implored the federal government to formulate an effective legal framework to check oil theft in the country.
The union also said Petroleum Industry Bill(PIB) should be reassessed, in view of President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire to block leakages in the oil and gas sector.
The PENGASSAN President, Mr Francis Olabode Johnson, made the call during a leadership training organised for branch chairmen, secretaries and industrial relations officers under the Lagos, Warri and Kaduna zones of the association in Benin, Edo State.
A statement from the union yesterday quoted Johnson as commending the president’s effort to ensure that Nigeria has functional refineries.
He noted that government should also consider granting licences to indigenous investors.
Johnson said, “Let the government come out with a strong legal framework that can stabilise the industry. So, you can look at giving Nigerians more licences; let Nigerians build refineries because they can also create jobs. When you have a legal framework for oil and gas, the issue of pipeline vandalism and state of our refineries will be taken care of.”
He said the association was worried by the attitude of major oil firms, who according to him, take advantage of falling crude oil price while excluding its members.
He, therefore, urged the president to consider calls for diversification in order to ensure a stable and sustainable economy.
The union leader said, “International Oil Companies (IOCs) should not take advantage of the falling crude oil price to sack workers. You cannot say that because there is a fall in crude oil price, which is something that is temporary and fluctuating, you want to make our members redundant and you are employing new people as contract or casual workers. It is not acceptable to us. We want to appeal to the government that, in view of the fluctuating crude oil prices, it must also be looking at diversifying.”
Earlier, the National Industrial Relations Officer of the association, Mr. Ndukaku Ohaeri, said the training was aimed at providing modern skills for members of the union to enable them manage industrial conflicts at all levels.
Ohaeri said: “We believe that if we give them the right training, they will be better equipped to handle issues at the basic level. And if that is done, we will not have many problems at the zonal and national levels.
Often times, we talk about industrial actions that could ground the economy. The only way to solve such problems is to go to the grassroots.”