By Chinyere Bassey
Lagos – The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to, in his second term, work towards ending, “Nigeria’s continued dependence on imported petroleum products.”
The call was part of the communique issued by the President of NUPENG, Mr Williams Akporeha, at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on Sunday in Lagos.
The oil workers said Nigeria’s dependence on imported petroleum products to run its economy despite being a leading producer and exporter of crude oil in the world was, “shameful and unacceptable.”
NUPENG said that it would give necessary backing to government to ensure that Africa’s biggest economy was able to refine locally instead of exporting crude and importing finished products.
“NEC-in-session is pleading with President Buhari to use the strength of his second-term in office to end Nigeria’s reliance on imported petroleum products.
”This is important so as to meet local consumption. As a union, we will give the president all necessary supports required from us to end the dependence on imported products for local consumption,” it said.
The union also encouraged State Governments from the oil rich Niger-Delta region to invest in building of oil refineries to cater for domestic, commercial and industrial use by the citizenry.
It stressed the need for the Federal Government to revive the country’s existing refineries in Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt and impress it upon investors granted oil refining licenses to build the refineries.
According to NUPENG, until such investors are sanctioned, they will not see the need to start building the refineries.
It condemned what it called “gross violation of workers’ rights by International Oil Companies (IOCs),” citing Shell Nigeria and its contractors as places where Nigerian contract workers were being denied their rights.
“It is sad and disheartening to state the flagrant violation of the rights of contract workers in Shell Nigeria.
“Shell contractors have brazenly refused to implement an agreement they willingly entered into with the workers since November 2018,” the union stated.
According to NUPENG, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) will not feign ignorance of the inhuman conditions its Nigerian workers are being subjected to.
The union said because of all these, it had resolved to “take up the fight and is putting the public on notice.”