Oil workers accuse boards of corruption in local content implementation
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has said the implementation of local content law, which the unions in the industry fought vigorously for in the interest of young graduates, technicians and school leavers, has been turned into a cesspit of corruption.
The oil workers alleged that boards of many companies only seek to make more millionaires of portfolio-carrying Nigerian businessmen.
NUPENG President, Williams Akporeha and General Secretary, Afolabi Olawale, highlighted some of the challenges bedeviling the sector in a statement to congratulate President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima.
To address the local contents challenge, the workers called on the Tinubu-led administration to declare a state of emergency in the oil and gas sector, to properly situate employment in the industry.
They said this should be done in a manner that would engender technical expertise and skills enhancement for young graduates, technicians and school leavers, as well as a further help to reduce the wave of brain drain, insecurity and penchant for fraudulent activities among the youth in the country.
Stating the union’s belief that Nigeria has enough human capacity to develop and enhance its technological capabilities, they said the board seemed uninterested in addressing the crude behaviour and exploitative employment tactics of the unscrupulous indigenous employers and multinationals, who are exploiting and turning the Nigerian local contents law into ambits of slavery and precarious employment rather than a source of fulfilling employment and empowerment for teeming qualified young Nigerians in their fatherland.
According to him, there is increasing degeneration, indecency and precariousness of employment and working conditions in the industry, which can be attributed to one of the causes of the increasing frustrations, crime, violence and restiveness among the youths, who are continuously feeling alienated in their fatherland.
The oil workers also implored the new administration to address the issue of insecurity that has pervaded the country without any exception.
He said Nigerians in the past 15 years were continuously losing faith in the ability and capacity of successive governments to protect their lives, properties and sources of livelihood.
“No Nigerian feels safe anymore and these unfortunate situations have in so many ways accentuated the level of poverty, unemployment, rising food cost and brain drain syndrome among every age bracket. The daily gory tales of kidnapping for ransoms, ritual killing, religious killings, communal clashes/killings and herders/farmers’ killings are so scary and discourage farmers from farms and indigenous and foreign investors/businesses from investing in the country creating jobs.
“This is not the country we all crave for and we strongly feel that the new president can help to turn this situation of hopelessness to a situation of hope and faith in our fatherland if he truly offers to serve,” he said.
On crude oil theft, NUPENG urged Tinubu to save Nigeria and Nigerians from the shame and global ridicule of open thefts and sales of the nation’s crude oil in the international markets “while the country is reeling in helplessness, hardship and poverty. The incoming administration should as a matter of urgency address this issue with all vigour and urgency.
“With the objectives of having a Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) that will be accountable, rewarding and transparent in financials, governance and responsiveness to the needs and yearnings of Communities and stakeholders.
“These desirable objectives can only be achieved with strict adherence in implementation to the spirit and letters of the Act. We therefore strongly plead with the President-elect and his team to give a new narrative to wrong notions that Nigerian governments are no respecter of their laws. Let the PIA, no matter any perceived shortcomings inherent be implemented until any further amendments are made.”