House of Reps demands reinstatement of sacked refineries’ workers

YEMIE FASH

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House of Reps demands reinstatement of sacked refineries’ workers

The House of Representatives has asked the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to reinstate the 470 workers allegedly sacked by the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited and the Warri Refining and Petro-Chemical Company.

At the plenary on Tuesday, the House considered and adopted a motion entitled, ‘Urgent Need to Investigate the Termination of the Employment of over 300 Casual Staff of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company.’

Adopting the motion moved by Mr Thomas Ereyitomi, the House resolved to “direct the NNPC and the management of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company to reinstate the over 300 persons affected by this action pending the investigation by the House Committee on Public Petitions.”

The House also mandated its Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) to carry out a “forensic investigation” of the recent recruitment of graduate trainees by the NNPC, with a view to “determining how many persons were recruited from the various host communities.”

A member, Mr Samaila Suleiman, made an additional prayer that the Kaduna refinery be included in the consideration as about 170 workers from the host community were also recently sacked.

The lawmakers unanimously granted the prayer.

Moving the motion, Ereyitomi said, “The House notes that in the heat of the coronavirus pandemic that is ravaging Nigeria and the world at large, the management of the Warri Refining and Petro-chemical Company has gone ahead to sack over 300 casual staff (members) of the refinery, in spite of Federal Government’s directives that no government agency or private establishment should sack or lay off any of its (members of) staff.

“The House is aware that all the affected persons are indigenes of the host communities, where the refinery is located, which is made up of Itsekiri and Urhobo communities.”

The lawmaker recalled that sometime in July 2019, another member, Mr Ben Igbakpa, presented a petition to the House on behalf of the host communities, seeking among other things, de-casualisation of the employment status of indigenous workers in the Warri refinery.