Nigeria’s oil workers, under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria(PENGASSAN), have threatened to shut down Nigeria should the Federal Government carry out its plan to sell national assets to augment revenue shortfall. The Trade Union Congress(TUC) on Sunday said it would join PENGASSAN to shut down the country if the government carries out the plan. In a statement on Sunday by its National Public Relations Officer, Mr. Emmanuel Ojugbana, PENGASSAN said, “Any attempt to sell these national assets will be met with stiff resistance from the association, as PENGASSAN will galvanise every support, including that of our sister union and labour centres to shut down this country by ensuring that every activity in the oil and gas sector is brought to a complete halt.
“Some opportunists in the clothes of businessmen and short-sighted politicians had earlier advocated the sale of public assets such as the NLNG, four state-owned refineries, Nigeria’s stakes in the Africa Finance Corporation, the nation’s airports and reduction of government’s shares in upstream oil joint venture operations and this was approved by the National Economic Council.Doing this will further mortgage the future of our great country in the hands of few cabals. These individuals are just looking for advantage to further loot the country through illegal acquisition of the national assets as in the case of various oil blocks held by a few powerful Nigerians.
“The sale of national assets is not only surprising but also embarrassing for a nation experiencing economic recession. The proponents of the sale of national assets are those who have been actively involved in the operations of the nation’s economy in the past. They were part of those responsible for the country’s current economic situation. It is, therefore, the candid position of PENGASSAN that such a plan should be thrown into the trash bin.Government should continue to seek better ways to address the present economic challenges and reduce areas of wastage. The long overdue calls for diversification of the economy should be driven with all seriousness; more action is required urgently than propaganda mechanism.”
MEanwhile the President of the TUC, Mr. Bala Kaigama, said: “We will solidarise with them. You cannot sell vital assets like that. You don’t. If those who invested in the assets had sold them, would they have met them? Of course, these business people, who are saying sell and sell, let them pay the appropriate taxes. Those people who are not paying the appropriate taxes, let them pay the appropriate taxes and money will accrue to the Federal Government. TUC will solidarise with NUPENG and PENGASSAN to shut down the country.”