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TUC Blames FG For Oil Industry Job Losses

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The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has heaped the blame for the crisis rocking the upstream and downstream oil and gas industry, which has forced 150,000 workers into unemployment market, on Federal Government’s lack of political will to address frontally the many challenges in the critical sector of the economy.
Chairman, TUC, Rivers State chapter, Comrade Chika Onuegbu, who spoke in Port Harcourt, regretted that although the low oil price was a global challenge, the inability of successive governments since 2000 to conclude reforms in the oil and gas sector, and pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), was a major local problem that has negatively impacted the industry.
Onuegbu said: “the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), has repeatedly expressed worries over the increasing challenges in the nation’s oil and gas sector, which have led to the loss of 150,000 workers between 2013 and February, 2016″, and government has yet to do anything concrete to save the situation form worsening.
The TUC chairman said that the oil and gas industry has been on a standstill for years due to the inability of government to re-negotiate long expired agreements with industry operators, including joint venture partners, while outstanding labour-related issues have not been addressed, adding that this has no doubt delayed huge foreign direct investments in the sector.
According to him, virtually all JV and Production Sharing Contracts have expired without any serious effort to put new legal frameworks in place to guide operations of the industry. Consequently, oil production and gas regimes have stagnated, thereby adding little or no new value to the nation’s development process.
Onuegbu said: “PENGASSAN is disturbed by the undue delay in the dispensation of justice by the National Industry Court (NLC), prevalence of unfair labour practices and abuse of trade union rights in the oil and gas industry.
“We are also against some companies that have invented nomenclatures such as Individual Contract Agreement (ICA), Secondee, no solicitation, among others, aimed at preventing workers from exercising their constitutional rights to join trade unions and bargain collectively.
“These have led to the sack of 150,000 workers in the oil and gas industry and adversely increased the high rate of criminality, while unleashing untold hardship on the citizenry,” he said.
He linked the persistent scarcity of refined petroleum products to neglect of the refineries by successive governments over the years, adding that the problem of insecurity has increased cost of doing business in Nigeria.
Onuegbu charged government to make the refineries work again, and encourage the building of more refineries and petrochemical plants to boost the diversification of the economy.
The TUC boos also challenged government to fulfil its core mandate to the people by ensuring the security of lives and property so as to reduce the cost of doing business in Nigeria, and create opportunities for employment generation and youth empowerment for economic growth.
He urged the federal and state governments in the Niger Delta region, to quickly intervene and bring pressure to bear on the oil companies to forestall looming strikes and other forms of industrial action which could worsen the already difficult operating environment in the state and country.
Onuegbu warned that if urgent steps are not taken to address the many challenges, the nation’s oil and gas sector could face imminent collapse.

 

Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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FG Alerts On Massive Flooding In Rivers, FCT, Others

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The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has predicted more devastating floods from the end of August to early October in some states of the federation, including Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Already, the agency said in line with its earlier predictions, Lagos, Nasarawa, Anambra, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Rivers, Enugu, Borno and Ondo states had witnessed severe flooding as a result of heavy local rainfalls compounded by poor drainage system.
The Director-General of the agency, Engr. Nze Clement Onyeaso, in an interaction with some journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said all areas earlier identified as flood prone this year as well as those along the Rivers Niger and Benue might likely begin to experience more devastating flooding from the end of August.
“Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries namely Benin, Burkina- Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivore, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. Nigeria is located at the lowest position of the Basin and this means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is August and September of every year,’’ he said.
The DG said his agency was monitoring the development as we approach these critical months, adding that it will also continue to monitor Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.
Nze warned Lagosians against the practice of dredging and sound filling the Atlantic Ocean, to build what they usually call model cities like those in Lekki and Banana Island, saying such may, in the future, pose serious threats.
As part of the preparation for the expected floods, the DG called on Nigerians, especially the state governments to be fully prepared by ensuring cleaning of blocked drainage system and canals remove refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats on water channels.
The agency had earlier predicted that 121 LGAs in 27 states and FCT might experience severe flooding this year.

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Rivers Police Confirm Killing Of Disbanded OSPAC Leader In EMOLGA

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The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the killing of one Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, the leader of disbanded OSPAC in Umudioga community in Emohua local Government Area of the state, last Tuesday.
The spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with The Tide, said the dismembered body of the victim has also been recovered and deposited in the mortuary for preservation.
The police spokesperson further stated that the police has restored normalcy in the community while the Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, has ordered for full investigation into the incident.
It would be recalled that gunmen suspected to be cultists, last Tuesday, invaded Umudioga community, and killed Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, who was said to be the leader of the disbanded OSPAC, a local vigilante group in the area.
A native of the community, who pleaded anonymity for fear of the unknown, disclosed that the gunmen, who were armed with sophisticated assault rifles, stormed the community in the afternoon and went for their target.
The source further revealed that the gunmen shot Isaac dead before beheading and dismembering his body, and later paraded the head of their victim in the community while urging natives not to panic as they came for the deceased and not for the community.
The Tide gathered that some other members of the disbanded OSPAC have already fled the community as a result of the killing of their former leader and fear of being attacked by the cultists who are hunting members of the defunct OSPAC in the area.
It was learnt that many suspected cultists were arrested and killed in the community while others fled during the reign of the deceased OSPAC commander in the community in 2019.
The Tide further learnt that the killing comes barely three weeks after the Chairman of Emohua Local Government Council, Dr Chidi Lloyd pronounced the dissolution of all vigilante groups in the LGA, and asked communities that make up the council area to submit five names of natives who would be screened and admitted into a new security outfit to be established and funded by the council in no distant time.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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JAMB Fixes Mop-Up UTME For 18,000 Candidates, Aug 6

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has rescheduled examination for more than 18,000 candidates who experienced biometric verification challenges and those who genuinely missed the just-concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) as a result of a clash with this year’s National Business and Technical Examinations Board examination.
The mop-up UTME is scheduled for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the country.
JAMB Spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, made this known in a statement, yesterday, titled, ‘Mop-Up UTME Holds Friday, 6th August, 2021…JAMB’.
The statement read, “Following detailed investigation and careful analysis of the highly-successful 2021 UTME, and with due consultation (resulting in gracious concession) with the National Examination Council (NECO) concerning the timetable of the council’s on-going SSCE, JAMB has scheduled a Mop-up UTME for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the nation.
“About 18,000 candidates slated for the examination are being notified through both text messages on their designated phone numbers and their JAMB profiles. In addition, the candidate can check using their registration number on http://www.jamb.gov.ng/2021mopup.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no candidate whose result has been duly released will be rescheduled for another examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are in the following categories:
“Candidates who could not be initially scheduled for examination owing to their inability to timely procure and supply their mandatory NINs or profile codes until after the close of the registration exercise and, therefore, had to purchase Bank Drafts (as against the usual vending of PINs) after the scheduled period for the examination and were later registered.
“Few candidates who encountered peculiar biometric verification problem, or who failed biometric verification on the examination date (and were recaptured) but were not allowed to partake in the examination. (Adequate screening arrangements have been made to re-verify such claims and any candidate found to be involved in any form of impersonation will be identified for prosecution).
“Candidates who were unable to sit for the UTME owing to the clash of timetables of the UTME and the then on-going NABTEB examinations and whose particulars have been verified and supplied directly to JAMB by NABTEB.
“Candidates who have been ascertained by JAMB to have experienced genuine rescheduling/technical problems as was the case in 30 of the 760 centres used for the examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are to print fresh examination notification slips containing the venue and time of the examination. The slips are to be printed from the JAMB website https://www.jamb.gov.ng using the candidates’ registration number from Sunday, August 1, 2021.
“The board strongly advises candidates to avoid supplying their vital information, including registration number to fraudsters who abound especially in cybercafe(s), tutorial centres springing up almost everywhere in the nation as a result of the illicit activities of examination syndicates. CBT centres approved by JAMB which are consistently monitored are relatively more secured for printing examination notification slips by candidates who cannot print such on their own.”

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