Former security employees of ExxonMobil have urged the Federal Government and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) to direct the oil giant to pay their exit entitlements as contained in a Supreme Court judgment of April 20, 2018.
The 21 ex-workers made the plea in a statement signed on their behalf by Emmanuel Usoro and Tabiti Kehinde at the weekend,
They said the firm was reluctant to comply with the apex court’s decision until the affected ex-staff staged a peaceful protest on its premises, prompting it to carry out documentation and commenced payment.
They lamented that the firm unceremoniously stopped payment, leaving 21 of them unpaid, thereby denying them the fruit of their legal victory.
However, when they contacted the company’s headquarters in Victoria Island, Lagos, ExxonMobil informed them that every one of them would be paid and that they should be patient.
“The question is how long shall we be patient? We are tired of being patient since 2018 when most of us worked for ExxonMobil all our lives and have no other means of survival. No pension and no gratuity.
“We served as Supernumerary Police Officers with ExxonMobil Police Unit in various capacities during our youthful ages. Our primary assignment was to protect life and properties in the Loss Prevention and Control (Security) department of the Multinational Oil Company, which we did with all youthful vigour, zeal and enthusiasm that the onus of the service demanded and placed on us, not minding the risk, threat, even death of some of our colleagues.
“Yet, we were not deterred by the hatred, scorn and underdog treatment to which we were subjected while performing our duties over the years,” the group lamented.
Some of them, they claimed, were disengaged from the service against their wish and without notice or any form of benefits. This left them with no choice but to seek redress in court.
They added: “We engaged the services of Femi Falana (SAN), who filed a suit in court to pursue our claims. The matter was a protracted legal battle for years but finally, in the first quarter of 2018, the Supreme Court of Nigeria delivered judgment in our favour.
“The judgment asserts that all personnel that served in that unit, dead or alive, must be accorded with all the rights in accordance with ExxonMobil employees status. However, ExxonMobil refused to comply with the judgment until they were pressurised.
”Reluctantly, the management of ExxonMobil commenced the payment of these benefits in October 2018 and categorized the payment system into three stages, namely; active service (those that were in service when the judgment was delivered); the retirees (those that were forcefully or willingly retired but alive and those retired but dead.
“All personnel in the first category, a large number of others in the second stage, and a select few in the third stage were paid, thereby making nonsense of the payment categorisation.
“We are dying of hunger and sickness especially in the recent COVID-19 pandemic, where the economic situation has deteriorated to unbearable levels.”
They warned that they would resort to all legal means to get their entitlements, including picketing of the offices of the defendant if he continues to disobey the apex court decision.