Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has expressed concerns over what it considers as uncertainty surrounding the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the National Assembly, saying that the activities of the legislative arm in the passage of the bill has not reflected any form of transparency on the part of the legislators.
PENGASSAN President, Comrade Babatunde Ogun, who made this submission at the Association’s Special Delegates Conference in Lagos, said the lack of transparency on the part of lawmakers has created an avenue for speculations from different quarters that there were many versions of the bill before the legislators.
According to him: “The activities of the National Assembly in the passage of the PIB have not reflected transparency on the part of the legislators. This has created an insinuation that there are so many versions of the bill before the National Assembly. I think it is high time the legislators let Nigerians, especially the stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, know the authentic bill that is currently before it by publicising the bill to encourage transparency and credibility.
Let us at all time be alert to adjust our own memorandum to the National Assembly, as done by other stakeholders, especially the NNPC. I challenge any of our members that have any comment or contributions that can be value added to bring it to the notice of the National Secretariat for compilation and amendment into our own memorandum.”On the local content law, Comrade Ogun, who said it was a welcome development, however warned that the union would not hesitate to bring the oil industry to a halt should any company operating under the local content engage in any anti labour practices that would jeopardise the welfare of its members.
“As much as we welcome the local content law in the country, I think we should do all within our power to ensure that no company under whatsoever guise or association, especially the PETAN, engage in any anti labour practices or jeopardise the welfare of our members. If it happens, we are prepare to bring the industry to a halt. All companies must engage the association before they start operating in the oil and gas industry,” he said.
On the forthcoming general elections, Ogun urged President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that he delivers to Nigerians his promise of a free and fair election in 2011, and further urged governments at all levels to respect the tenets of democracy by ensuring that people’s votes count. According to him, the issue of one man, one vote should be taken seriously and implemented in order to eliminate election rigging while prodding government not to spare anyone found to be involved in election malpractice in order to serve as deterrent to others.
“Though we believe in the new leadership of INEC but to achieve a free and fair election either in 2011 or any other future elections, there is need for change in the orientation of the political class and the Nigerian people. While the political class should know that rigging or offering money to the electorates is not good; the electorates should also know that they should not because of their situation mortgage their future and that of their children to the unborn generations,” Ogun advised.The special delegate conference was conveyed by the union to discuss the association’s constitution and other established norms that regulate labour and industrial relations issues.