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This Day (Lagos): Nigeria: Niger Delta – 90 Percent Indigenes to Lose Jobs – Pengassan

Posted to the web February 5, 2007
Juliana Taiwo

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has disclosed that 90 per cent of Niger Delta indigenes stand to lose their jobs in the region if the current insecurity and hostage taking persist.

President of PENGASSAN, Comrade Peter Esele, told THISDAY in a chat at the weekend that already 1,500 workers of Dawodu and 1,000 workers of Wilbros had lost their jobs along with some in ENSCO Drilling as a result of the companies pulling out of the area.
While disclosing that President Olusegun Obasanjo had agreed to meet with the executives of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the PENGASSAN, Esele said majority of those affected were from Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta States.

“A lot of oil and gas companies are planning redundancy because they are no longer producing as a result of insecurity. Shell’s west production which has a capacity 1.2 million per barrel is presently producing just 350,000 per barrel per day. With that how long can they sustain their present workforce? If the situation does not improve, Shell too might have to lay off. Shell has continued to pay its staff their salaries despite the fact that they are not working.

“In as much as we support the agitation of those in the Niger Delta, we are asking if there is insecurity how will development come to the area? If you are kidnapping, how will the place develop? A lot of developmental programmes have been put on hold because of this problem. Julius Berger was supposed to start the East-West road but cannot mobilise because of fear of insecurity”, he said.

Esele, who disclosed that today’s meeting was as a result of their insistence, said other issues to be tabled before Obasanjo include the autonomy of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), casualisation in the oil and gas industry, and the status of Petroleum Training Institute (PTI).

The workers had on Thursday last week said they would not return to work until their security was assured.

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