The President of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Comrade Williams Akporeha, and the General-Secretary, Comrade Afolabi Olawale, have said that its members as well as affiliate labour unions would likely join other citizens to observe the stay-at-home order from 00.00hrs on Friday, March 27, 2020.
The labour union leaders who made this known on Tuesday in Lagos said their members in the affiliate unions are vulnerable to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), adding that there was need to protect them against same.
They admonished all members and other stakeholders in the downstream sector of the Nigeria’s oil and gas industry to follow international protocols, including the recommended health and safety measures by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) by maintaining social distancing, excellent personal hygiene and keeping the work environment safe while discharging their essential.
Stating that NUPENG is monitoring the unfolding situation, union leaders said the safety and welfare of the vulnerable and integral segments of their membership are of paramount concern to the union.
“In the light of the above, the union may be forced to give some harsh but necessary and important directives with respect to the safety of these set of workers who are our members in the informal sector, and they include the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), Petrol Station Workers (PSW), Petroleum Depots Workers, Independent Marketers Employees, Oil and Gas Suppliers (OGS), Surface Tankers Kerosene Peddlers (SUKATEP) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers, (LPGAR).
“The union may be forced to direct these workers to stay at home with effect from 00.00hrs on Friday, March 27, 2020, this is a very difficult decision but necessary and important with respect to the safety of these set of workers who are our members in the informal sector.
“Meanwhile, NUPENG is also using this opportunity to encourage all our members across the country to continue to adhere strictly to social distancing and high level of hygienic behaviour at work, at home, on the streets and with everyone they interface with in their daily activities so as to reduce the spread of the contagious COVID-19 and keep the socio-economic activities of the country alive industrially, domestically and commercially.
“Be rest assured that the leadership of the union will not forsake you at this precarious moment and we equally urge you to remain good ambassadors, law abiding and disciplined in your conducts,” NUPENG officials said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has directed all office-based staff below management cadre across all its formations to work remotely from home with effect from today (Wednesday).
The corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, said the directive which was conveyed to the NNPC workforce through a message signed by the national oil company’s Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, directed all NNPC strategic business units to activate their business continuity plans immediately to ensure minimal disruption to operations while protecting staff from exposure to the COVID-19