Reps to conduct forensic audit of NNPC’s recent recruitment

• Call for immediate reinstatement of 300 sacked casual workers

The House of Representatives on Tuesday unveiled plans to conduct a forensic investigation into the recent recruitment of graduate trainees by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) with a view to determining how many persons were recruited from the various host communities.

Tribune Online reports that the resolution was passed following the adoption of a motion on the urgent need to investigate the termination of the employment of over 300 casual staff of Warri Refining and Petro-Chemical Company (WRPC), sponsored by Hon. Thomas Eveyitomi.

In his lead debate, Hon. Eveyitomi who called for the House intervention observed that the workers were disengaged while coronavirus pandemic was ravaging Nigeria and the world at large.

According to him, “management of Warri Refining and Petro-Chemical Company have gone ahead to sack over 300 casual staffs of the Refinery, in spite of the Federal Government directives that no government agency or private establishment should sack or lay off any of its staff.

“The House is aware that all the affected persons are indigenes of the host communities where the refinery is located, which is made up of Itsekiri and Urhobo communities.

“Sometime in July 2019, Hon. Ben Bakpa presented a petition to this House on behalf of the host communities seeking, amongst other things, de-casualisation of the employment status of indigenous workers with Warri Refining and Petro-chemical Company.

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“The House notes that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, without respect for the House committee on public petitions, went ahead to recruit 1,050 graduate trainees against the resolution and recommendations of the committee.

“The House observes that this recruitment did not reflect the principles of fairness as enshrined in Section 28(2) of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act which provides inter alia that ‘the Board shall ensure that the operator or project promoter maintains a reasonable number of personnel from areas it has significant operation’.

“The House further notes that while the casualisation status of these workers and the non-concession to the host communities in the recent recruitment of graduates trainees is a matter before the House committee on public petitions, the management of Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company has gone ahead to lay off over 300 indigenous staffs against the clear and unambiguous directive of the Federal Government that no worker should be drOpped or sacked at this precarious time that the country is passing through.

“The House is worried: that if this House does not step in immediately to arrest the situation, there may likely be a breakdown of law and order and interruption of the smooth operations of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company and its subsidiaries,” he said.

To this end, the House directed Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and the management of Warri Refining and Petro-Chemical Company to reinstate the over 300 persons affected by this action pending the investigation by the House Committee on Public Petitions.

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