The National leadership of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG) vehemently condemns the perceived threat by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige to proscribe our Union despite our strict adherence to statutory mode of operations, laws of the land as well as international conventions since our formal registration as a Trade Union in 15th August, 1978.

We are not surprised though, that this recent treacherous move by the Minister was an escalation of his violent reactions and attacks on organized labour’s (not just NUPENG) peaceful rallies and picketing to all places of interest to the Minister, over his failure to inaugurate the Board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) with Comrade (Chief) Ovie Frank Kokori as the Chairman and use of armed thugs to attack Labour leaders.

It is shameful that the Minister of Labour had to condescend so low by issuing a directive to NUPENG to produce its only outstanding Financial Returns for 2018 within 72 hours when the extant law stipulates 30 days, and even when such returns are supposed to be due by June 31st, 2019.

We have it from good authority that he has further carried all our files right from the inception of our Union (1978) to date in a bid to fish out phantom reasons he intends to use in proscribing the Union.

Our fears were however confirmed further when we realized that it was only NUPENG that was instructed to submit its financial returns.

We wish to let the whole world know that Dr Chris Ngige is nothing but a big bag of lies and we further put on record that Dr Ngige called to congratulate Chief Kokori personally, when the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo announced him in 2017 as the Chairman of the Board of NSITF.

The Minister also invited Kokori to dinners four different times to variously discuss about the inauguration and other things concerning the Board particularly how it has been enmeshed with corruption by successive administrations.

Besides, the leadership of NUPENG visited the Minister in his office in November 2018 and he informed us that he is still tidying up the agency and that our man (Kokori) will be inaugurated in due course. He even added that Kokori was appointed based on merit as a renowned labour activist and pro-democracy advocate and someone who will not be compromised.

Only to later hear in the media that after 2 years of announcing Kokori as the Chairman of the board, his name was substituted with no tenable or justifiable reason(s) and the Minister could not even deem it fit to convene a meeting to brief Comrade Kokori and other relevant stakeholders of the new development thereby allowing it to snowball into crises.

Despite this appalling affront on our veteran and the entire labour movement in general and the use of hired thugs by the Minister to attack Labour Leaders and the members, Organized Labour (including NUPENG) for the love they have for Nigeria, only resulted to peaceful protests and strongly resisted provocation of going on strike, knowing the collateral damage this will have on the country and the attendant effect on the socio-economic wellbeing of the citizenry,

We decided to lick our wounds and withdraw to our shells especially after the declaration by the Presidency on the changes made. Nevertheless, NUPENG found this absolutely reprehensible and awful to say the least.

Worst still, Ngige in his petty and infantile nature has proceeded on self-destructive mission to proscribe NUPENG because the Union dare to speak against what it believes was wrong and injurious to our interest. Ngige’s latest machination is purely a personal vendetta, ruthless in execution, sadistic in expectations and not 21st century Industrial Relations practice compliant.

It is important to state here that NUPENG or its leadership never had any personal issues with the minister thereby taking a matter which is wholly official to this level, is to us the height of office abuse.

NUPENG is however unperturbed by the antics of the Minister, but remains resolute in guiding our policy thrust in tandem with the rules of engagement

Meanwhile we are by this press statement putting all our members in every Oil and Gas installations, including Petroleum Tanker Drivers and all other members in the value chain of the industry on HIGH RED ALERT while we watch out for any further infantile and ignoble antics from Ngige.

We however use this medium to call on our amiable President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Comrade Muhammadu Buhari and all other well-meaning Nigerians to please call the erring minister to order before he plunges this country to a monumental industrial crisis.

No one should test the patience or perseverance of the Oil and Gas Workers as our solidarity remains constant for the Union makes us strong!




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