*Union makes fresh demands on government’s choice of chief executive

Chineme Okafor in Abuja

Unless amicably resolved in time, the brewing disagreement between the federal government and members of senior oil and gas workers union in the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) over government’s choice of persons to head the agency may snowball into a big industrial action that could affect the operations of the country’s downstream petroleum sector.

The workers under the auspices of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Workers Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on Friday in Abuja warned that if their complaints are not adequately attended to, it may lead to a costly industrial action.

Such action, they said, could cripple the country’s downstream sector and indeed supply of petroleum products to end-users across the country.

The union had on Tuesday shutdown operations at the headquarters of PPPRA in protest of government’s appointment of two parallel acting heads for the agency. It however said that the disruption of work was strictly observed at the head office for now pending when issues are resolved with the government.

The PPPRA manages the government’s pricing policy on petroleum products, as well as regulate the supply and distribution of petroleum products.

The government had after dismissing the immediate past Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Farouk Ahmed, instructed him to hand over to the most senior officer at the agency.

Ahmed in obedience of the order handed over the agency to a certain Moses Mbaba who he said was the most senior officer to stand in pending the appointment of a new chief, however, the government on Monday reportedly sent another person, Sotonye Iyoyo who was alleged to be a staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to take over as the agency’s acting head.