Oil workers in Nigeria have threatened to embark on strike if the federal government does not curb the increased rate of crude oil theft.
The workers, members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) said on Friday that they would suspend production if the Federal Government did act to stop the menace.
The National Industrial Relations Officer (NIRO) of the Association, Chika Onuegbu, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Port Harcourt.
Mr. Onuegbu said that suspending production would draw government’s attention to the lingering crude theft in the oil sector.
He said that pipeline vandalism and general theft in the sector had hampered production, causing hardship on citizens.
“I want to clearly inform you that if nothing concrete is done to stop oil theft, the oil workers unions, which include PENGASSAN and NUPENG, may be forced to suspend production,” he said.
“The suspension of crude oil production and supply of petroleum products will be indefinite until appropriate action is taken.
“The impact of this ultimately on overall revenue from oil accruing to the federation account will be negative and severe as it is alluded to by the NNPC recently.”
The spokesman suggested that community policing, active inclusion of oil host communities, training of local security and job creation for the youth, would go a long way to curtail oil theft.
“The Nigerian state should also rise up to its constitutional responsibility of effectively securing of lives and property. It is our thinking that addressing the security failure is as important as addressing the social justice issues,” he said.
Mr. Onuegbu said that saying no to oil theft would further guarantee the safety and security of oil installations in the communities.
Both the federal government and the oil companies have complained about the increased rate of crude oil theft in Nigeria. The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said Nigeria loses about N155 billion monthly to oil theft and other losses in the upstream oil sector.