By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Private security guards attached to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), who protect oil pipelines from Lokoja to Kaduna, are protesting the nonpayment of their 18-months salary arrears.
It would be recalled that workers of the private security guards under the auspices of ‘Pipeline Right of Way Surveillance Providers Forum’ had staged protests on January 3, 2019, blocking the entrance to the NNPC pump station at Awawa, Abaji Area Council, FCT and also Izom pump station, refusing entry to staff, petrol tankers and visitors.
The security guards, who are employees of MRS OIL AND GAS LIMITED, had carried placards bearing inscriptions such as: ‘Pay us our 22-months salaries’, ‘We are not slaves’ and ‘We will block Abuja-Lokoja Road if we are not paid’.Alhaji Ibrahim Salihu,
Chairman of the forum, said “MRS Oil AND GAS LIMITED, which the NNPC has given contract for the pipeline surveillance, only paid the balance of arrears for 2017, after the January Protests, with a pledge to pay the complete arrears for 2018 – between January and February.
“However, they reneged on their promise, which prompted us to write them a complaint letter dated March 29, 2019, giving them an ultimatum of April 11, 2019 for the payment of our arrears.
“And now that the ultimatum has expired with more than two weeks, and with the MRS not yielding to our demands, we are left with no other option than embarking on yet another protest to let the world know of what is happening.”
Alhaji Salihu accused the management of MRS OIL AND GAS LIMITED of being insensitive to their plight and lamented that since they took over, things have been different compared to when the guards were working directly under the NNPC, during which they were paid as and when due, and received other benefits.
He said other guards doing the same work at Warri have been paid, but those at the Lokoja-Kaduna axis have not been paid.
“We worked under good conditions, and our salaries were constant when we were working directly under the NNPC. But when MRS OIL AND GAS LIMITED took over, there is no provision for even torch lights, raincoats and rain boots to enable us work properly,” he said.
“All we want is our salaries paid, as well as going back to work directly under the NNPC and not MRS OIL AND GAS LIMITED,” he added.
He called on the government to intervene in order to resolve the dispute, and forestall the breakdown of law and other.
Meanwhile, another protest was staged by the guards on Monday, April 24, and just like they did during the January protest, they again carried placards bearing similar inscriptions to drive home their demand.
All efforts to get the reaction of MRS OIL AND GAS LIMITED were futile as at the time of filing this report.