Abuja, Aug. 3, 2023: The Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources on Thursday, intervened in the lingering crises between the management of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and its workers.
The workers have since Tuesday been protesting alleged poor welfare and working conditions and called for the sack of the Chief Executive, Mr Gbenga Komolafe, over alleged financial mismanagement.
During the continued protest at the commission Complex at Idris Ibrahim Crescent, in Jabi, Abuja on Thursday, the protesting workers called for a forensic audit of the finances of the commission.
Addressing the workers, Amb. Gabriel Aduda, Permanent Secretary in the ministry appealed for dialogue to find a lasting solution to the crisis, which he described as counterproductive to nations most important industries.
He noted that the workers were not wrong to show their grievance, adding however, that not much would be achieved without coming to the discussion table.
“We totally agreed that your concerns are very genuine. You have tabled them, and you have listed them.
“We are also aware that the management has taken the concerns very seriously and some of them are already being addressed.
“We want to appreciate all of you, and we are not taking any of your concerns that you have raised as a joke.
“In fact, every single one of them will be addressed, especially where there is evidence and proof,” he said.
He offered to chair a meeting with the union leaders and the management of the commission.
According to him, the discussion will enable the parties to come out with resolutions and implantable plans to be able to address every single issue that has been raised.
“Those that can be handled immediately would be handled immediately and those that will need time we will agree on the timing.
Responding, Mr Kabiru Dan’azumi, Deputy President Worldwide, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASAN), said that the union has tried to resolve the issue amicably without success.
“We met with the management in private and in secret. We discussed the issues as a family matter, but Komolafe has failed us,” he said.
Also speaking, the National Treasurer, PENGASSAN, Mr David Owan, said that the issue has been ongoing for the last two years.
Owan thanked the permanent secretary for intervening to resolve the fracas but insisted that the chief executive of the commission must go.
He, however, said that the branch would call a congress, discuss the matter, and seek a directive from the national executive for the union and get back to him on the modalities for the meeting.
On his part, the Branch Chairman, Mr Okechukwu Anya, said that Komolafe must also apologise for calling the workers thieves before they would consider sitting at the same table with him on the matter.
Some of the issues bothers on inadequate staff medicals, poor working tools and office accommodation, staff harassment and intimidation.
Other issues, according to the workers, are controversial metering plans, abuse of processes, procurement of a private jet, and over inflated contracts among others.
However, Komolafe in a statement on Wednesday, claimed that the management has fulfilled almost all the claims and demands of the workers, while stressing that some of the allegations were not true.