The House of Representatives has called for the reinstatement of over 300 casual staff of the Warri Refining And Petro-Chemical Company (WRPC).
The leadership made this known at plenary on Tuesday, as part of its resolutions after a member, Hon. Thomas Eveyitomi moved a motion that the sack of the over 300 workers be looked into.
Eveyitomi noted that the workers were laid off in spite of the Federal Government’s directives that no government agency or private establishment should sack or lay off any of its staff at a time when the world is battling a pandemic.
According to him, all the affected persons are indigenes of the host communities where the Refinery is located, which is made up of Itsekiri and Urhobo communities.
Speaking further, Hon Eveyitomi noted that sometime in 2019, Hon. Ben Bakpa had presented a petition to the House on behalf of the host communities seeking, amongst other things, a de-casualisation of the employment status of indigenous workers with the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company.
Also according to him, without respect for the House committee on public petitions, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation went ahead to recruit 1,050 graduate trainees against the resolution and recommendations of the committee.
“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,” he said.
Hon. Eveyitomi added that the WRPC went ahead to lay off hundreds of its staff, despite the fact that the casualisation of the status of the workers and the non-concession to the host communities in the recent recruitment of graduate trainees is a matter that was still before the House committee on public petitions and going against the government’s directives.
He, therefore, noted that if the 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.
Consequently, the House reached a resolution to direct the NNPC and management of the WRPC to reinstate the over 300 persons affected by their actions pending the investigation by the House committee on public petitions.
Secondly, it said it would mandate its Committee on Petroleum Down Stream to carry out a forensic investigation into the recent recruitment of graduate trainees by the NNPC with a view to determining how many persons were recruited from the various host communities.