ABUJA – Nigerian oil workers have called off their day old strike after a deal was agreed with Minister of State for Petroleum and Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr Ibe Kachikwu to set up a joint committee between the unions and key management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to review and possibly implement recommendations from the unions.
The workers went on strike Wednesday shutting down operations of the state owned oil company.
The meeting also agreed that there would be no job cuts or loses in the course of the reorganisation.
Staff of the (NNPC) had on Wednesday barricaded every entrance into the Corporation’s headquarters, denying people’s access and shutting down every activity in protest to the decision of the Federal Government to unbundle NNPC into several smaller units.
Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum and group managing director of NNPC, announced Tuesday that President Muhammadu Buhari had already approved the final phase for restructuring the NNPC into seven coordinating units, including an upstream company, a downstream company, a gas and power company, as well as another company in charge of refineries, all to be headed by chief executive officers with independent mandates.
There were conflicting reports however Wednesday, about the unbundling of the corporation with reports suggesting the petroleum minister backed down from the process which had earlier been hailed as a first major step to clearing the bottlenecks that created not only gapping holes in their finances but also a culture of inefficiency.
Sources say the minister have been facing unexpected blockages in his effort to reform and reposition the corporation, most of it coming from insiders, entrenched corrupt government officials and politicians who have for years benefitted from the rot in the corporation.
Separately, the state oil company is currently battling to resolve the latest round of nationwide fuel crisis, which has left several businesses, and the general public stranded on fuel queues for days now.
No official reason has been given for the empty fuel stations.
Nigeria is the seventh largest oil-producing nation globally with an estimated 1.8 million barrels payday pumped, with four dysfunctional refining facilities. Much of the fuel scarcity has been blamed on the ‘broken’ down refineries, all of which are in perpetual turn-around maintenance.
Kachikwu to face Senate questioning as protesters shut NNPC
SeparatelyKachikwu to face Senate questioning as protesters shut NNPC, Senate on Wednesday invited minister of state for petroleum resources, Ibe Kachikwu, to answer questions regarding the announced unbundling of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
To this end, the minister is to appear today (Thursday) at a joint session of the Senate Committees on Petroleum (Down and Upstream) and Gas.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Tayo Alasoadura, who endorsed the letter of invitation, said they were ‘shocked’ and ‘in disbelief’ over the announcement of unbundling the NNPC.
The letter read in part, “Shocked by the announcement in disbelief, three committees overseeing the industry wish to invite the Minister to appear before them to brief them of this critical decision in a meeting schedule Thursday.”
Alasoadura said that the action was taken “without recourse to the Act establishing the NNPC and approval by the Senate of Nigeria.”
Senate Leader, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume also told reporters in Abuja that the announcement of the unbundling of the corporation has generated issues that the Senate is looking into.