12th January, 2012
As feverish moves to end the nationwide strike and protests over the removal of fuel subsidy continues in Abuja, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN indicated on Thursday that it may be forced to shut down oil and gas production as from next Sunday if the Federal Government failed to heed the demand of Labour to revert the price of petrol to N65 per litre.
“PENGASSAN shall be forced to go ahead and apply the bitter option of ordering the systematic shutting down of oil and gas production with effect from … 0000 hours of Sunday Jan. 15 (2300 GMT on Saturday Jan. 14), if the federal government of Nigeria fails to yield to the popular agitation of Nigerians on her unacceptable approach to fuel subsidy removal,” PENGASSAN said in a statement today.
There have been fears in the global market about the possibility of the ongoing strike over New Year day removal of fuel subsidy which entered the fourth day on Thursday disrupting Nigeria’s oil export. Nigeria produces over 2 million barrels of crude oil per day and is a major supplier to United States, Europe and Asia.
The country also earned over 90 per cent of its revenues from the export of crude oil. Disruption of oil export from Nigeria will likely to drive up prices of crude oil in the international market and further hurt the local economy already paralysed by four days strike.
The ultimatum by PENGASSAN is no doubt intended to put more pressure of government on its stance that it will not revert the price of a litre of fuel to N65 it was before the price was jacked up to N141 per litre following the removal of subsidy.
The two Nigeria main labour unions, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC have insisted on the reversal of the price to pre subsidy removal level before the ongoing national strike will be called off.
Leaders of Nigerian National Assembly, led by Senate President David Mark have been negotiating with Labour leaders, but there has been on breakthrough yet on the talks. It was also learnt that the Senate President also met with President Goodluck Jonathan over the issue this morning.
The Labour leaders and leaders of the National Assembly will meet with the President later on Thursday to find way out of the impasse caused by the fuel price hike and the national strike.