Rivers Govt has become Tool of Oppression to Oil field Workers – PENGASSAN reacts to Detention of ExxonMobil staff
Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has accused Rivers state government of oppressing oil and gas workers under the pretext of combating COVID-19 Pandemic.
This is coming after 22 staff members of ExxonMobil were detained by security operatives for violating the lockdown order imposed by Rivers state Governor, Nyesom Wike as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The Herald recalls that 2 Pilots of Caverton Helicopters were also arrested last week for flying in oil expatriates into the state on the order of Governor Wike.
PENGASSAN has therefore accused Wike’s administration of sabotaging Oil and gas workers in the guise of mitigating the spread of Coronavirus despite the exemption of the oil and gas the sector from the lockdown.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Association’s Chairman, Razaq Obe and the Secretary, Odoudua.
”At about 3:30pm on Thursday April 16, 2020, Rivers State Commissioner of Police with his team and a top Army commander intercepted the convoy (protected by the police) conveying 21 ExxonMobil personnel who are PENGASSAN members on their way to Intels, Port Harcourt, at Bori (Akwa Ibom/Rivers boundary).
“The commissioner rebuffed all explanations and forced them to move to Elekaya Stadium, Port Harcourt, where they have been detained, verbally assaulted and starved.
“The original pretext for sending them to the stadium was to test for COVID-19 but there was no such possibility at the location; it is a construction site. They rather served them papers to write statements.
“It is appalling that Rivers State authorities have turned the global effort to tame COVID-19 to a tool of muscle-flexing and petty oppression of oilfield workers.
“We condemn the continued detention of the 21 members of our Union who stake everything to produce the oil the country depends on for survival.
“We call on all stakeholders to prevail on the government of Rivers State to end this most unpleasant drama. Our members have broken no law.”