The Nigerian government has pleaded with the ‘striking’ oil workers to suspend its industrial action in the interest of the nation.
In a statement issued on Friday night by the Deputy Director (Press) in the Ministry of Labour, Samuel Olowookere, on behalf of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, the federal government stated that the action would lead to “unwarranted hardship on the populace”.
The government urged the workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) to consider the effect of the strike action, which might also compound the vandalisation of petroleum products.
The statement read: “Strike neither solves industrial disputes nor contributes to industrial growth. Our economy is already reeling from severe haemorrhage occasioned by decade long mismanagement. Further action, which stunts the efforts currently being made to reverse the trend, should therefore be shunned.
“A situation where oil workers leave their offices and oil loading base will not make for an increase in oils export nor assist make available, enough petroleum products in this time of deregulation. This will only compound the vandalisation in the Niger Delta, occasioning low output and export in our OPEC quota, apart from the unwarranted hardship on the populace.
“The time therefore calls for more patriotism more so when negotiations have already been kick started with PENGASSAN and International Oil Companies on most of the areas especially the issue of cash calls and arbitrary sack of personnels.
“The Federal Government therefore urges PENGASSAN to urgently call off the strike so that all sides will freely negotiate. I am very optimistic that when we sit for negotiation on Monday, July 11, issues that have led to the situation on the ground will be resolved in the greater interest of the nation.”
The statement also urged Nigerians to avoid panic buying of petroleum products.