This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
Thursday, March 10, 2016
OIL WORKERS STRIKE: CRIMINALISE STRIKE IN THE OIL SECTOR
11th March 2016,
OIL WORKERS STRIKE:
CRIMINALISE STRIKE IN THE OIL SECTOR
Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum
and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN)
yesterday went on strike over the alleged unbundling of the Nigerian National
Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the Federal Government (FG).
Although the strike was called off
within 24 hours after a meeting of the leaders of both NUPENG and PENGASSAN
with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, who is also
the Group Managing Director of NNPC it threw the whole country into topsy-turvy
and worsened its perennial fuel crisis.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is
deeply worried by the instability in the oil sector particularly ugly events
like strikes by oil workers which cause undue hardship among the citizenry and
bring the nation’s economy to a grinding halt.
While we are not totally closing our
eyes to the right of oil workers to collective bargaining, we are of the
opinion that this right must not be abused. It is poor Nigerians who suffer
when rascality and impunity become the norm in unionism particularly in a
sector whose product is sine qua non
to the people’s welfare.
MURIC frowns upon the spontaneous
nature of the strike as the oil workers shut down all NNPC facilities
immediately the unbundling of the corporation was announced. Nigerians are
asking NUPENG and PENGASSAN: what happened to notification? What effort did the
unions make towards dialogue?
We appeal to oil workers to appreciate
the value of their services to the country and call on leaders of both NUPENG
and PENGASSAN to exhibit responsible leadership and temper patriotism with
service delivery. Leaders of workers’ unions in the oil sector should not
exploit the sensitive nature of their jobs.
Without prejudice to the welfare of oil
workers, in pursuance of good governance and in the general interest of
ordinary Nigerians, we call on both FG and the National Assembly to work hand
in hand towards criminalising strike in the oil sector in view of the latter’s
sensitive nature and its contribution to the economy.
In conclusion, efforts should be geared
towards ensuring that no workers’ union holds this country to ransom again.
Nigeria is bigger than any group of workers.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)