Home News PENGASSAN suspends industrial action, Exxon Mobil donates bags of gari to host community

PENGASSAN suspends industrial action, Exxon Mobil donates bags of gari to host community

by Business News Report

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has suspended its planned industrial action after 21 Exxon Mobil Corporation employees quarantined last week after their arrest for violating coronavirus-related movement restrictions were freed.The governor of southern oil hub Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on Friday said Exxon Mobil workers were arrested after entering the state from neighbouring Akwa Ibom State in violation of an executive order restricting movement into the state as part of measures imposed last month.

Meanwhile Chevron Nigeria Ltd and First E & P have donated 1,600 bags of gari to assist its host communities in Bayelsa State to cushion the effects of the lockdown directive of the state government as part of measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic. The Community Development Committee chairmen of the eight benefiting communities in Southern Ijaw and Brass local governments of the state took delivery of 1,600 bags of garri in Yenagoa. The communities are Koluama I & II, Ezetu I & II, Foropa, Fishtown, Ekeni and Sangana forming the acronym KEFFES as parties of Global Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Chevron and First E & P. Speaking at a brief ceremony, Chairman KEFFES Rural Development Foundation, Mr Mathew Sele-Epri, on behalf of the donors said the gesture was to show empathy and care to members of its host communities. He said that the sit at home directive aimed at containing the spread of the corona virus had presented challenges with the communities, a development that compelled the KRDF to seek the assistance of the oil firms operating in the area..

Wike had said that the 22 workers, whose coronavirus status was unknown, were quarantined in line with relevant health protocols and would be charged in court. But Wike’s spokesman, Simeon Nwakaudu, on Sunday issued a statement that said the workers were all released without charge “following interventions by well-meaning Nigerians”. The union said its statement referred to 21 Exxon Mobil workers who were union members, whereas Rivers State included the driver in its tally to total 22 people. Exxon Mobil declined to comment on the situation. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) said it had instructed its members to withdraw all forms of services relating to crude oil production, refining, distribution and supplies from Monday unless the Exxon Mobil workers were freed.

“Having achieved the primary demand in our ultimatum, we hereby suspend the planned industrial action,” PENGASSAN said in a statement on Sunday. Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State, is the hub of the oil industry in Africa’s biggest producer of crude. Sales of crude oil make up about 90% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings. Rivers State has recorded two cases of coronavirus so far. Nigeria has 541 confirmed cases nationwide and 19 deaths. The most high profile victim was the president’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari, who died on Friday. Nigeria’s petroleum regulator has ordered oil and gas companies to reduce their offshore workforce and move to 28-day staff rotations, instead of the usual 14 days, to help to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. PENGASSAN, in its statement, called on the government to “guarantee unfettered movement of oil and gas workers on essential services in all territories of the federation” so they could continue to provide services.

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