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Workers Threaten Strike Over Crude Oil Theft, Pipeline Vandalism

Angry oil workers under the umbrella body of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria have threatened to shut down oil installations across the Niger Delta if the federal government fail to speedily address the lingering issue of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the country.

The workers that international oil companies such as Agip, Total, Shell and Addax, had stopped oil production in some wells due to the theft, stating that the jobs of workers in these firms were currently threatened.

They blamed soldiers and other security agents protecting pipelines in the country for the continued oil theft in the Niger Delta.

The President, PENGASSAN, Festus Osifo, who said these in Abuja, also revealed that the association would hold rallies simultaneously on Thursday (today) in Abuja, Warri, Kaduna and Lagos.

He said, “So, today it has become necessary for us as an association to cry out and shout because if necessary steps are not taken we will be forced to embark on a nationwide solidarity by withdrawing our members from production.

“Let us join and assist the government, since they are not responding to what they ought to do, they are not responsive in fighting this criminality, being that they don’t have the political will to fight this criminality, we will withdraw our members and let the country run aground.

“We cannot continue to produce and some people will siphon it, sell and become millionaires in dollars on a daily basis. We can no longer support this.

“Government must wake up. You cannot send naval officers, civil defence operatives, as well as men and women of the Nigerian Army to the creeks of the Niger Delta and you don’t develop a mechanism to hold them accountable.”

He said if the government failed to put a stop to the issue of crude oil theft, then the workers will have no option than to go on strike.

Osifo added, “If after this rally there is no traceable progress, as an association, we may be forced to withdraw our workforce from the operating companies, because we cannot continuously send crude oil into the pipelines and at the end of the day the pipelines are vandalised by people who don’t know how the oil was produced.

“Some of these pipeline vandals, when you stop production into a line, they call our members and threaten them, asking our members why they stopped production into the line and that they should open the line.

“So, the lives of our members are even at risk. For someone to have your phone number and call you, that means the person knows you. Therefore, we can no longer condone this, government must sit up

“It is a cartel that does this, because to be able to compromise a pipeline, the technology you need is so superb and not something that can be done easily.”

Nigeria relies on crude oil revenue for over 90 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings and about 70 per cent of government revenue.

In the first quarter of this year, Nigeria lost $1bn in revenue to crude oil theft and production shut-in caused by pipeline vandalism.

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