Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers has threatened to embark on strike if the Federal Government does not stop the alleged diversion of crude oil allocated to the Port Harcourt Refinery.
NUPENG President, Mr. Achese Igwe, at a press conference in Port Harcourt on Sunday, alleged that the crude allocated to the refinery was being diverted and sold in the open market.Igwe said. “As a union, we are saying Federal Government should stop the open market sale of crude. They (Federal Government) should return the allocation to the Port Harcourt Refinery. Why must the Federal Government take away the crude oil allocated to us and sell it in the open market?
“A nationwide strike is among the methods the union will adopt if the trend of selling our crude in the open market and offshore does not stop. We will embrace dialogue with relevant government agencies on the issue to ensure that crude oil is returned to the refinery.”
The NUPENG boss lamented that the development had rendered workers at the refinery redundant.
He said the diversion of crude oil officially allocated to refinery was almost grounding the operations of the two plants at the facility.
“We are wondering if this is a tactics to tell Nigerians that the refineries are epileptic, they are not functional and they cannot refine local content product and so the best thing is to take this product offshore and refine them,” Igwe.
He urged the new Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, to address the situation.
Also, the Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Port Harcourt Unit, Mr. Sunny Nkpe, said the association was seriously affected by the non-supply of crude to the refinery.
Nkpe called on the Federal Government to intervene in the matter, saying those who borrowed money to invest in oil business in Port Harcourt had been suffering as a result of the development.
“The bad condition has thrown many of our members out of business and if not checked immediately, they might be forced to push back their employees into the labour market with its dire consequences,” Nkpe said.