- Nigeria oil workers have given the Federal Government a 21 days ultimatum to address security situation in the oil rich Niger Delta or face the strike. Nigerian earns 90 percent of its export earnings from crude.
The workers' decision to go on strike was announced after the emergency meeting by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).
NUPENG President, Peter Akpatason said that the unions rejected the recent pronouncement by the government on the total deregulation of the sector and the planned privatisation of the nation's refineries and its subsidiaries, further indicating that the security situation in the oil hub has not improved.
"Our meeting looked at two major issues, the insecurity in the Niger Delta, as well as the purported deregulation in the downstream sector of the oil and gas,” he said.
Early February the Nigerian oil union delayed the strike in protest of the spate of kidnappings against workers in the Niger delta while negotiations are continuing with the government.
The unionist accused the government of turning a blind eye to the worrying security situation in the region, saying the two unions had agreed that the prevailing economic situation in the country does not support total deregulation of the oil industry.
Mr Akpatason said the Union has also agreed that a series of protest would be carried out between now and 21 days and at the end of it, the unions will embark on a comprehensive three days as a warning strike.
The unions have however expressed their reluctance to hold talks with government, saying the government has for the long time deserted the oil industry.
Armed attacks and kidnappings and hijackings of vessels in the Niger Delta, which is home to Nigeria's oil industry, have cut the African nation's exports more than 20 percent since 2006.
Local reports said a number of militants in the region claiming to be fighting for a fairer share of the region's oil wealth for local people, have resorted to abductions and are out to make money through ransom demands.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the main armed group in the region, says it's fighting for the region's poor and has distanced itself from armed groups engaged in kidnappings for ransom.
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