By Iyiola Pedro & Yusuf Yunus
Lagos – The President of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Mr Williams Akporeha has vowed to frustrate attempts by some oil companies to phase-out the union through casualisation of workers.
Akporeha stated this at a dinner to celebrate media practitioners as well as unveiling the union’s plans to celebrate its forthcoming 40th anniversary, on Saturday in Lagos.
According to him, the union has embarked on various strategies to ensure it continued to remain relevant to workers in the oil and gas sub-sector as well as Nigerians.
“Management of oil companies are coming up with various policies to phase out NUPENG and we have embarked on a lot of struggles to ensure that those plans do not come to fruition.
“We have situations where oil management, today, puts policies to ensure that workers who are supposed to be under NUPENG cadre are not employed.
“When they are employed they must be under contract and they ensure that they are not unionised, and that’s the challenge we continue to face.
“And if as a leader today, I don’t up my game or realise that those are the challenges I must face then I am very sure it will get to a time where you will not have NUPENG anymore.
“So these are the challenges that are before me and I want to tell you that those are the challenges I want to fight with my last blood.’’
Cue-out Akporeha’s audio
Akporeha, who had been a member of NUPENG since 1992, added that several campaign strategies to combat those challenges had been designed, saying, “the campaigns will be to say that NUPENG cannot go under.
“We will continue to stand tall and one of those ceremonies is what we are starting today.
He expressed his appreciation for the media for their relentless effort to ensure that the union’s activities were conveyed to the public.
He, however, dispelled insinuations that the union embarked on industrial action for self gains.
“It’s not like we appreciate strike or we enjoy it. Of course, I don’t think there is anybody that wants to be on the street under the scorching sun to be protesting.
“But clearly when the foundation of your existence is being threatened you cannot go to bed.
“And each time you see us on the street also know that this great union which has been in the forefront of so many struggles, both for the common man and the oil and gas workers, existence is being threatened,’’ he said.
He said his leadership would continue to protect the ordinary Nigerians in addition to performing the duties associated with being a trade union, pressure group, and a civil society organisation.
On its forthcoming 40th anniversary, themed: “NUPENG Yesterday and Tomorrow,’’ Akporeha, said the two-day event would hold in Abuja on Dec. 5 to 6.
According to him, the event will feature paper presentation, cultural competition, talk show and award presentation, among others.
“We are going to recognise all spectrum of the society – players in the industry, ordinary people that also believe in our struggle, organisations and civil societies, former leaders and captains of the industry.