June 19, 2024

Nigeria’s oil production to decline as Labour mulls facility shutdown


Adewale Akintaro

Nigeria’s oil production may soon face a major challenge of a decline as oil workers have disclosed plans to begin a safe shutdown procedure for oil facilities, as part of the ongoing nationwide strike embarked on by the Trade Union Congress, TUC and the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC.

Speaking, the Chairman of TUC in Rivers State, Comrade Ikechukwu Onyefuru, said that while the poor continue to suffer from economic hardship, politicians kept allocating more money for themselves, assuring that organized labour was ready to pursue the matter till the end.

Onyefuru who is also the Chairman of PENGASSAN, Shell branch, speaking exclusively to SweetCrude Reports in Port Harcourt, lamented over the economic inflation in the country, noting that a loaf of bread was now N2,000, PMS N900 per litre, AGO N1,500 while the Naira was exchanging for about N1,500 to a dollar.

He explained that an increment in the minimum wage would increase productivity because workers would be happy and motivated to put in their best, noting that the 300percent increment in electricity tariffs was killing small-scale businesses.

“PENGASSAN is part of the strike and all offices are shut down currently while the oil facilities safe shutdown has commenced. Oil facilities will be shut down from tomorrow, we are on a steady process.

“We have different plants for different things, flow stations, export plants, gas plants, etc. What we are doing now is safe mode shutdown which will take a minimum of 24hours and a maximum of 72hours, you don’t just press stop because, for some of these machines, it will take about six months to restart them, so what we are doing is safe mode shutdown and it’s gradual.

“Our demand is simple, increase the minimum wage to a living wage and reverse the electricity tariff increase. So we are ready this time around with the government, there will be no going back. The government is proposing N70,000 minimum wage which is about $39. Can N70,000 fuel the convoy of one senator?

“The earnings of the government at all levels, both federal, state and local governments have increased by more than 250 percent. The government should stop playing politics with governance, we have told them to cut down the cost of governance and put in place policies that will encourage investors to come for the economy to grow.

“Our refineries are not working, insecurity is at an alarming rate. There is a 300percent increment in electricity tariffs from N66 per kwh to N225 per kWh, which has greatly impacted small and medium-scale industries. As it stands, no state can boast of three to four hours of steady power supply per day.”

The labour leader emphasized the need for fair wages, improved governance, and the unity of Nigerians in the face of political division and called for a collective effort to reclaim the country from political exploitation.

He said, “Domestic flights were already grounded today, and from tomorrow international flights will be grounded too. The same government which increased the salary of judges, and awarded over N100million to each federal lawmaker to buy vehicles that they already have, is claiming they can’t afford a life wage for workers.

“We’re ready to pursue this matter till the end. The masses should support labour and stop allowing themselves to be used by politicians. I will not be surprised if by tomorrow the same masses that we are fighting for will be sponsored by politicians to on the streets to protest against this strike.

“Nigerians should face reality, the time to take back our country is today. When politicians are sharing money they don’t remember ethnicity and religion, but when they want to divide Nigerians they will use ethnicity and religion.”

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