LABOUR PENGASSAN tasks FG on multi­na­tion­als NSITF M/D calls for so­cial pro­tec­tion of de­prived non-com­pli­ance to agree­ment Nige­ri­ans

Daily Trust - - LABOUR - Sto­ries by Mustapha Suleiman

The Pe­tro­leum and Nat­u­ral Gas Se­nior Staff As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria (PENGASSAN) has im­plored the fed­eral govern­ment to take strin­gent mea­sures to curb a sit­u­a­tion where agen­cies and oil com­pa­nies carry on their ac­tiv­i­ties as if they are more pow­er­ful and not an­swer­able to the govern­ment.

Pres­i­dent of PENGASSAN, Com­rade Fran­cis Ola­bode John­son, stated this at the 3rd Women in PENGASSAN Na­tional Con­fer­ence held in Abuja.

He said that such an at­ti­tude is not ac­cept­able to the union as unions in gen­eral are rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the peo­ple.

He said, “We have been hav­ing se­ries of meet­ings with the govern­ment team. You can­not have an agree­ment with the min­is­ter stand­ing in for the Pres­i­dent of the Fed­eral Re­pub­lic, and when it’s time to take ac­tion, you say no. We only sus­pended our strike, if these is­sues are not ad­dressed prop­erly, we may have to re­sume the strike. Though we don’t like tak­ing that route. That is why we are im­plor­ing ev­ery agency of govern­ment that what­ever agree­ment reached must be re­spected. We will abide by our side of the agree­ment but if they are not ready to hon­our theirs, we will have no choice than to re­sume our sus­pended strike.’’

On the agree­ment reached to re­call sacked work­ers in the oil sec­tor, he said, “We had an un­der­stand­ing, but today what we are hear­ing is that some of them are reneg­ing, es­pe­cially Fu­gro Nig Ltd. I must be spe­cific here. They are reneg­ing. If the min­is­ter who is stand­ing in for Mr Pres­i­dent took a de­ci­sion and they are reneg­ing, that is an af­front on the pres­i­dent of Nige­ria. If you know you have no re­spect for the Pres­i­dent then you pack your things and get out of the coun­try.’’

Com­rade Ola­bode also said that the lead­er­ship of PENGASSAN was go­ing to meet with the fed­eral govern­ment over the threat is­sued by the Avengers to oil work­ers.

Com­rade Ola­bode warned that the group’s threats should not be taken lightly by the govern­ment.

“We are hav­ing a meet­ing with the Min­is­ter of Labour and Em­ploy­ment. In view of the is­sue on ground, this is some­thing we should take as pri­or­ity. What­ever the is­sue, let govern­ment look for a way to fast track ev­ery­thing and dis­cuss so that there can be peace in this coun­try.

“This is not time for us to start de­stroy­ing our­selves and our prop­er­ties and oil in­stal­la­tions. We all need to work to­gether as a coun­try so that Nige­ria can rise from the ashes of what we are go­ing through,” said the PENGASSAN. The Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of the Nige­ria So­cial In­sur­ance Trust Fund (NSITF), Ismail Agaka, has called on the rel­e­vant Min­istries, De­part­ments and Agen­cies (MDAs) in the so­cial pro­tec­tion sec­tor to de­velop pro­grammes that suit the pur­pose of the so­cially de­prived Nige­ri­ans.

Agaka noted that there are many forms of so­cial pro­tec­tion ini­tia­tives and pro­grammes spread across more than 10 govern­ment agen­cies and that it is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of rel­e­vant Min­istries, De­part­ments and Agen­cies (MDAs) to fac­tors in is­sues such as the dis­placed peo­ple in their op­er­a­tions.

He fur­ther called for syn­ergy of the var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties of the MDAs to en­sur­ing that the tar­geted peo­ple feel the im­pacts of such pro­grammes and ini­tia­tives.

The NSITF helms­man stated this while do­nat­ing re­lief ma­te­ri­als to the Kar­ma­jiji IDP camp in a sub­urb of Abuja.

While ac­knowl­edg­ing that the govern­ment must be as­sisted by all the seg­ments of the so­ci­ety in the midst of dwin­dling re­sources ac­cru­ing to the coun­try, he stressed that the do­na­tion is a part of the Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity (CRS) of the NSITF and not an obli­ga­tion to­wards the IDPS, say­ing the man­date of the Em­ploy­ees Com­pen­sa­tion Scheme (ECS) does not cover the in­for­mal sec­tor un­der which most of the IDPs fall.

He said: “At the mo­ment and the way the law that es­tab­lishes Em­ploy­ees Com­pen­sa­tion Scheme (ECS) is struc­tured, the NSITF can­not pro­vide any so­cial pro­tec­tion to the In­ter­nally Dis­placed Per­sons (IDPs) be­cause an em­ployee has to come un­der the cover of an em­ployer, but we do have a cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity as an agency.”

He also called for the cre­ation of a Spe­cial Fund to pro­vide suc­cour to the In­ter­nally Dis­placed Per­sons.

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