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NUPENG TO GO ON STRIKE IN 72 HOURS

A NUPENG strike on the way

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The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), on Sunday in Abuja gave the Federal Government a 72-hour dealine to intervene in its dispute with some banks or face a nationwide strike.

A communique issued by the union and signed by its Secretary General, Mr Elijah Okougbo, indicated that NUPENG would proceed on strike at the expiration of the deadline if the government failed to prevail on the banks to extend the tenore of loans it acquired to 15 years.

The union in its strike notice threatened to shut down vital oil services if the government refused to intervene. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that members of NUPENG had acquired loans from banks for fuel importation but had failed to repay the loans, even though the federal government was not indebted to them. Okougbo rationalised the union’s ultimatum, saying it was to save jobs in the oil sector, as most of their members had been forced to prune down their work force to be able to meet up with the loan repayment.

The communique did not say how much money NUPENG had obtained as loan, only that the federal government must ask the banks to extend the repayment period to 15 years and at 3 per cent interest.

The statement reads in part: “Recall that an inter-ministerial committee was set up to by the Federal Government, which in the aftermath of a thorough investigation submitted a report and some highly productive recommendations.

“Sequel to the committee’s report, the Federal Government has made efforts to fully implement some aspects of the recommendations. However, some of the core recommendations have been completely ignored. “For instance, of key importance is the recommendation which clearly stipulates the restructuring of JEPTFON debts to 15 years and at three per cent interest as contained in the MOU.”

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