President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Festus Osifo said the federal government is not showing the will to combat crude oil theft.
Osifa who appeared on Channels TV said PENGASSAN’s resort to embark on 30 days strike was due to the aforementioned.
AM Business reported that PENGASSAN members on Thursday threatened to shut down oil production for 30 days if the Federal Government fails to curb the lingering massive oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
The apex oil and gas union president hinting at why they mulled on 30 days strike said the organization has engaged the federal government and relevant stakeholders for one year to curtail oil theft that is making the nation lose up to 5,000 barrels of oil per day but it has not yielded any result.
According to him, the federal government is not oblivion to intelligence reports on the massive looting of oil happening in the country, they just are not showing the political will to combat it.
Osifa explained that the union has been patriotic in the country but resorted to embarking on strike because the federal government discarded their suggestions to combat crude oil theft, both in the short and long term.
The First-Class degree holder in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Portsmouth United Kingdom stated that oil theft has further dwindled production capacity and forced other crude oil production companies to shut down.
PENGASSAN’s 16th president said, “For us, we are senior staff association in the oil and gas industry, so our preference has never been strike, our preference has never to shut down tools, our preference has always been constructive dialogue, that is why in the last one year, what we’ve done invariably, was how to engage government.
“So we have been an engaging government in the last one year, we have engaged all the stake ho0lders, we have engaged, I mean from the regulators to the operators in the industry, to security agencies, we have engaged them on how to curb these menace of oil theft because for us our members cannot continuously labour in vain.
“It has gotten to a point where employers of labour and producers in the sector, in some areas cannot meet the salary obligations, because as of today, production is shortened naturally. A lot of companies operating in the land area have shut down their production.
“So, we have engaged the government in the last one year extensively on these on the best way forward; we have made several recommendations on what we think could be done both in the short and the long run, but they are for dragging to implement some of these things and they are for dragging to get them done, so for us is out of national interest.
“As of today, some of our operators are being threatened in some of the locations where the operators decide to shut production, some of these people; they will place a call to our members threatening them that they should resume production, otherwise they will come and blow up the entire plant because they want to steal the crude, so, it’s a fundamental problem.
“As of today, we have realised that there’s a total collision going on in the Niger Delta, that collusion cut across all stakeholders in the industry, cut across all states of the industry, it includes the security agencies you sent to those particular area to make those pipeline, it includes people from the host communities, it includes people that are not from the host communities, they have international collaborators, they have some people that are even working in the oil and gas company or may have even retired, so its a big business going on.
“But again, people could plan to perpetrate crime, but what we are saying is that the government must develop the will to be able to solve the problem because today we have no business in borrowing money from international financiers and even crowding local banks, because in the last seven – eight-month, crude oil has been selling at for above a $100 per barrels; this is the first time that crude oil will be selling at these such oil price and we are, and we are running deficit budgeting to that humongous level.
“We know that they (Federal Government) have the information to fight this menace but the problem is the will.
He further insinuated that since the Federal government has not told, “us (PENGASSAN) why they were unable to muster the will to get things done, ‘a covet sanctioning or approval of the rot that is going on within the government.”