Disengaged members of staff of SeaWolf Oil Field on Monday in Abuja besieged and picketed the Asset Management Corporation (AMCON) complex over the non-payment of N5 billion being the backlog of their 23 months salaries and other claims.
The Street Journal recalls that Seawolf Oil Field Services Limited, due to its non-performing loans with a bank, was acquired by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in 2013, but has yet to pay the outstanding benefits of disengaged staff as statutorily stipulated, hence, engendering the protest.
Speaking to newsmen on behalf of the aggrieved workers in Abuja, Mr Victor Ogundayo, their spokesman, said that they embarked on the protest to draw AMCON’s attention to their pathetic plight, stressing that 23 months was a long time for anybody to survive without salary.
Ogunbayo said: “AMCON took over our facility in 2013 because SeaWolf was indebted to a lot of commercial banks. They did so without settling the workers.
“The standard in the oil and gas sector is that for whatever reason a company is taken, workers must be paid their terminal benefits, which AMCON has refused to do.
“Before we came here, we took our grievances to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and to Ministry of Labour and Productivity. They all asked AMCON to pay us our entitlements.
“ In May, we met with the MD, AMCON. He assured us that our claims will be addressed within 48 hours, but it’s been three months now since then and no word has come from them.’’
Ogundayo, who alleged that the situation had led to the death and hospitalisation of some of the affected workers, threatened that they would remain in the premises of AMCON until their demands were met by the appropriate authorities.
At the time of filing this report, the protesters had besieged the entire Murjanatu House, Maitama, AMCON’s office complex in Abuja.
Reacting to the development, AMCON’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Kayode Lambo, told newsmen that the protest was illegal due to a court injunction stopping them from doing so.
It would also be recalled that the National Industrial Court on Friday restrained the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum And Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) from picketing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the same issue.
Justice Peter Lifu gave the ruling on an ex-parte application filed by the CBN seeking to restrain NUPENG, PENGASSAN, Dr Ahmed Isah and Mr Paul Edeh, who are joined as respondents, pending the determination of the substantive suit before him.