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Vanguard (Nigeria): Oil workers strike: FG to probe killing of Royal Dutch Shell staff, 10 others

VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
Posted to the Web: Sunday, September 17, 2006

AS a fall out of the two days nationwide strike by oil workers in the country to protest, among others, the increasing violence in the Niger Delta region which claimed the life of a staff of Shell Development Company (SPDC), Mr. Nelson Ujeya, the federal government is to set up a high powered commission of inquiry to determine those who killed him and 10 Niger Delta youths who had gone to rescue him from militants who held him hostage August 20.

The controversial killing of Ujeya and the 10 Niger Delta youths by the military task force has since heightened tension in region.

Sunday Vanguard learnt that this formed part of the agreement reached between government and the leaders of the nation’s oil workers under the aegis of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and its Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) counterpart, before they agreed to suspend their warning strike initially planned for three days. The strike was suspended last Thursday after the leaders of NUPENG and PENGASSAN as well as top government officials at a stakeholders meeting held between Wednesday and Thursday reached an accord on the way forward.

According to Sunday Vanguard investigation, also, a high powered team to visit the families of Ujeya and the 10 other victims. It would be recalled that the late Ujeya a Community Liaison Officer (CLO) of  SPDC was kidnapped by the youths of Letugbene community in Ekeremore Local Government Area of Bayelsa state, right in the presence of officials of Bayelsa state government whom he had gone in company of   a joint venture assignment by the state government to inspect some projects on August 8.

Twelve days later he and some youths who had gone to rescue him from his kidnappers were killed in very controversial circumstances after President Obasanjo ordered the military task force in the Niger Delta to shoot militants on-sight.

Leaders of NUPENG and PENGASSAN at a joint National Executive Council (NEC) of both unions held on August 30, in Benin City, Edo State, had after reviewing the security situation in the region and other issues declared that oil workers  could  no longer fold their  hands and watch  the industry in Nigeria slide into a state of anomie.

The Joint NEC consequently directed that with effect from Wednesday, September 13, all members  of NUPENG and PENGASSAN would  embark on a three-day warning strike to compel government to provide a peaceful and safe environment in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country for oil workers in particular and Nigerians in general to go about their lawful duties.

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