…As PENGASSAN threatens to shut oil industry
From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Staff of the Ministry of Finance, yesterday, prevented the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, from entering her office following a protest to demand the payment of N1.2 billion unpaid allowance.
As early as 7am, the staff had barricaded the gate and chanting “Adeosun must go. Adeosun must go”. Their placards read: “Staff welfare means nothing to Kemi Adeosun”; “Adeosun Kemi must stop treating us like foreigners in our country”; “Mr. President remove Adeosun before she destroys the economy.”
The workers who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Daily Sun that since the Minister assumed office she has not met with either the workers or the union executives. They alleged that the Minister told them that she was appointed by the President for a specific assignment and not for the staff.
The workers who defied the rains and the presence of armed policemen, vowed to continue the protest until the President removes the Minister.
However, the Director, Information, in the Ministry of Finance, Salisu Na’nna Dambatta, said the payment known as a Special Overtime (SOT), was stopped by the last administration in 2014 on the grounds that it was not listed in any extant government Circular, Financial Regulations or the Public Service Rules and the sum of N1.2 billion computed by the staff union for payment could not have been budgeted for in 2016 in the first place, not only because of the paucity of funds but also due to the fact that the SOT allowance was not part of the remuneration in the Federal Public Service.
The Director also noted that the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Budget Office of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning do not individually or collectively owe any of their personnel their salaries.
“In view of the foregone, the management of the Federal Ministry of Finance wishes to categorically state that the protests have no justifiable grounds,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian oil and gas sector faces another major setback as Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has threatened to shut down the sector over alleged anti-labour practices by employers.
The union has handed down a seven-day ultimatum to government to call the affected employers to order.
PENGASSAN in a statement by its National Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojugbana, warned that it would not hesitate to direct members to withdraw their services and shut down the sector if, after the seven days, employers in the industry fail to end all anti-labour practices in their companies.