Oil workers ask AMCOM for terminal benefits
OIL drillers under the aegis of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) staged a peaceful protest at the office of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) over outstanding salary arrears and terminal benefits.
The protesters who were demanding the payment of outstanding N3billion wage vowed not to leave the AMCON premises until their money is paid.
The former staffers said though they were initially laid off 2013, were then initially engaged by Sea Wolf Oilfield Services Nigeria Ltd, which has since been taken over by AMCON as receiver/manager of the company.
The protesters said since AMCON took over the company as receiver/manager, it was binding on it to also offset their outstanding salaries and terminal benefits.
However, AMCON Credit Director, Mohammed Jega, explained that AMCON was equally incapacitated as a result of huge inherited debt burden of Sea Wolf, adding that the company was also exploring means of getting back money invested into the company.
AMCON, which was established in the wake of the crisis in the banking sector was alleged to have taken over three rigs belonging to Sea Wolf Oilfield Services in 2013 but has since been unable to pay the staff their emoluments owing to skeletal operations at the various rigs.
It was also learnt that Sea Wolf was indebted to First Bank following which AMCON was invited to recover the loans and assets of the company.
Owing to crisis in the financial market and skeletal operations of Sea Wolf, AMCON has maintained that it will be impossible for it to pay the salaries and terminal benefits of the workers.
NUPENG Secretary, Sea Wolf branch, Edet Ntemuse, said that AMCON has repeatedly flaunted the collective bargaining agreement of all stakeholders, which should have resulted in the payment.
According to him, some of the staff members have died prematurely as result of the untold sufferings and inability to offset their medical bills.
Jega continued “We are set up to clean up the banking industry, because the banks were having bad loans in the country and when you have lots of bad loans, the effect is that the bank can fail and when that happen, there will be an economic crisis for the country.
“AMCOM was put in place to recover the bad loans so that banks can continue to carry out its obligation to the depositors so that there will not be banking crisis or economic crisis in the country. When we get the bad assets, we are expected to go and recover the loans but on our case since we are not a bank, it will take time to recover the loans. At times if we can’t recover the loans, we can collect the assets, sometimes getting the assets may not be easy too as the owner of the assets may want to fight back. So the process takes time. It is also important for you to know how AMCON gets money to buy the bad loans from the bank.”