Chris Ngige
Chris Ngige

Paul Obi in Abuja

In an effort to ensure sustainable employment relationship devoid of strife and rancor, the federal government friday set up a committee to resolve all the lingering labour related crisis in the oil and gas industry.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige who inaugurated the twenty one-man tripartite committee on labour issues in the oil and gas sector explained that government was determined to prevent further crisis in the sector.

Ngige stated that the federal government is not unmindful of the present challenges arising from the global dwindling in oil revenue, he emphasized that job cut is not the solution.

He said: “We are all in agreement that the Oil and Gas Sector is currently facing challenges, the Federal Government is mindful of the concerns of both the employers and the employees, and is determined to nurture viable employment relationship devoid of strives.

“Hence, the need to employ social dialogue mechanism to proffer solution to challenges confronting the sector,” the minister said.

The 21-man committee which has the Honourable Minister of State Labour and Employment, James Ocholi SAN, as its chairman is charged with the responsibilities of reviewing existing guidelines on labour administration Issues, such as contract staffing and outsourcing; upgrade the guidelines to a ministerial regulation as provided by Section 88 (1)(e) and (g) of the Labour Act, CAP L1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), 2004.

The committee which has eight weeks to conclude its assignment is also to consider modalities for achieving retention of jobs in view of current challenges facing the oil and gas sector as well as look into other important concerns to the sustenance and promotion of industrial peace in the sector.

Members of the committee are drawn from; Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Federal ministry of Interior, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Nigeria Immigration Services, Oil Producing Trade Sector, Labour Contractor in the Oil and Gas Sector, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), and Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).

Chairman of the Committee, James Ocholi SAN, assured the minister that the committee will do its best to ensure sustainable industrial harmony in the oil and gas sector, including uniting all the warring factions in the petroleum industry.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday condemned the kidnapping in Benin on Monday evening, of Mrs Justina Ojo, the wife of Mr. Godwin Ojo, the Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action (ERA).

NLC General Secretary, Peter Ozo-Ezon in a statement said: “The kidnapping of Mrs Justina Ojo by unknown gun men at her home is not only a cowardly act by desperate characters that seek to profit from their criminal conduct, it is a sore reminder of the growing resurgence of the kidnapping industry.

“We join friends, family and other well-meaning Nigerians in demanding for her immediate release unharmed. We urge the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to do all that is necessary to secure her release,” he stated.

He contended that “all Nigerians and all non-Nigerians resident in Nigeria (irrespective of their calling) are deserving of protection. Their right to live in peace, and to freely associate and express their views is guaranteed by the constitution.

“We will therefore resist any attempt by any individual or group of persons to instill the culture of terror in the citizenry. Nigerians shall not be cowed.

“Mr. Godwin Ojo, her husband is a prominent Environmentalist and Human Rights leader who has spoken out against environmental abuses,” Ozo-Ezon explained.