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Protesting Youths, Workers Shut Down Warri Refinery Over Employment

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  • Protesting Youths, Workers Shut Down Warri Refinery Over Employment

Hundreds of youths and members of staff of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company on Wednesday shut down commercial activities at the Warri Refinery in Ekpan, Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State, over alleged management’s failure to regularise their engagements.

The protesters drawn from across the Niger Delta states vowed to continue with their protest and ensure that major activities at the refinery remained shut until the management of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation resolved the issue.

Our correspondent observed that the protesters had all the entrances into the refinery under lock and key, accusing the management of NNPC of reneging on its earlier agreement to convert them from contract staff members into full staff members of the company.

The casual workers, including members of the host communities (Ekpan, Ubeji, Aja-Etan, Ifie-Kporo and Ijala-Ikeren) to the WRPC, however, rebuffed efforts by security operatives, including policemen and officers of the Nigerian Army to have them vacate the major entrance into the refinery.

Some of the protesters, who spoke with our correspondent, lamented that they had spent their productive years working for WRPC, alleging that despite series of promises to fully absorb them, they were not invited for the second batch of staff recruitment for the corporation in Abuja.

One of the protesters, Edemerukewan Emedwor, claimed that even though most of them were graduates and certified skilled workers that had been effectively doing the jobs, the company recently came up with some criteria such as having a First Class or Masters Degree, as conditions to become full staff members.

Emedwor, who, however, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into the matter so as to ensure they were employed in line with his administration’s “Next Level” mantra, added that their current terms of engagement amounted to “slavery,” considering that the company continues to recruit outsiders.

He said, “We are not slaves; we are putting our strength and resources into this job. What do they need to do for us? It is to convert us so we can have job security.”

Similarly, Samuel Ihadieu, stated that in spite of the exposure to toxic elements and the hard labour put in every day by the casual workers, their services were not being rewarded for contributing their quota to national development.

A Niger Delta youth leader and National Secretary of the Itsekiri National Youth Council, Jemi Mene-Ejegi, told journalists that they would not vacate the premises until the managing director of NNPC visited the refinery to address the matter, otherwise the protest would remain a standstill.

Mene-Ejegi said, “Initially, we wrote a letter and they called us, excluding the casual staff members, that the issue will be resolved. We told them to attend to the casual workers first. The second time, the same thing happened, which prompted the first protest. “They (WRPC) again called for calm. We accepted, with the thought that this is our country. But from then till now, nothing has been done. Instead, they are playing a backyard game.”

Addressing the protesters, WRPC’s Chief Security Officer, Hope Akpodiete, and Administrative Manager, Mr Solomon Siakpere, both pleaded with the protesters to allow officials who had engagements to be allowed to go ahead.

Their pleas, however, fell on deaf ears.

Siakpere, while addressing the workers who comprised mostly of young people, said, “We are familiar with what is ongoing. As we are gathered like this, we must be able to translate the gathering into action, not make noise, so that we can make progress. This is to get attention and that has been achieved. Rest assured that our corporate management is aware.”

When contacted over the demands of the protesters, NNPC spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu, said there was no discrimination in the corporation’s recruitment process, saying that he was not aware of any agreement to convert the protesters into full members of staff.

Ughamadu said, “We have been announcing the various stages for recruitment. In that advertisement, it was thrown open to all the workers and they were asked to apply. How many of them applied? The casual workers were equally invited but that aside, we have engaged them. We told them that look, after this exercise, there is another stage.

“If they didn’t fall into the first category, they may fall into the second category. That is what we are on. We don’t have casual workers only in the Warri Refinery, we have casuals in all of our subsidiaries, including the headquarters and many of them applied, and they are undergoing interviews now. There’s no discrimination in the process. I am not aware if there was an agreement with them.

“I’m appealing to them to exercise some restraints. We’ll continue to engage them to ensure that an amicable resolution is reached.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Nigeria Appoints Four Global Banks To Oversee Eurobonds Issuance

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Nigeria on Wednesday appointed four global lenders, JPMorgan, Citigroup, Standard Chartered and Goldman Sachs as book-runners for its forthcoming Eurobond issue, according to the Debt Management Office (DMO).

The debt office also appointed Chapel Hill Denham as Nigerian bookrunner and FSDH Merchant Bank as a financial adviser.

It said in a statement that the Transaction Advisers emerged from an Open Competitive Bidding Process as outlined in the Public Procurement Act, 2007 (as amended).

According to the debt office, 38 institutions jostled for the transaction advisers but chose to select eight after “rigorous evaluation to ascertain the technical capacities of the responders to execute the Transaction.”

The Eurobonds are aimed at raising the external borrowing portion of the N5.6 trillion deficits in the 2021 budget put at N2.34 trillion.

“Whilst the government expects a successful outing, it will be mindful of costs and risks in terms of tenor and pricing in determining the amount of Eurobonds to issue,” the DMO said.

The DMO said proceeds from the bond sale will be used to fund various projects in the budget with the resultant inflow of foreign exchange into the country which will boost Nigeria’s dollar reserves and support the naira.

Nigeria had planned a Eurobond issue early last year after its sixth sale in 2018 where it raised $2.86 billion. But it decided to defer the 2020 sale due to the turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Assembly last month approved the external borrowing of about $6.2 billion through the issuance of a Eurobond.

The government has said it wanted to moderate debt servicing costs by accessing relatively cheaper funds abroad, as global interest rates fall below 2020 levels while local rates rise.

Nigeria emerged from its second recession since 2016 in the fourth quarter of last year, but growth is fragile.

The government expects a 2021 budget deficit of N5.6 trillion to be financed largely from foreign and local borrowings in equal proportion.

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Appointments

Nestle Nigeria Plc Appoints Two New Directors

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Nestle Nigeria Plc has appointed Mrs Adebisi Lamikanra and Mr Ibukun-Okun Ipinmoye as non-executive director and executive director respectively.

According to a statement signed by the Company Secretary, Bode Ayeku, Lamikanra, whose appointment was approved by the board, has over 30 years of professional experience providing advisory and consulting services to various public and private sector entities within and outside Nigeria.

The statement said before her appointment, Lamikanra was the head of the advisory practice of KPMG Nigeria consisting of management consulting, deal advisory, technology advisory and risk consulting business units. She had also led the financial services sector across Africa.

Lamikanra has a degree in economics and is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. She attended various leadership programs over the years at Instead, Lagos Business School, Harvard Business School, Kellogg and many others.

She is currently the co-chair of Women Corporate Directors in Nigeria and the thematic leader for the non-banking sector for the Nigerian Economic Summit Group. She is a promoter of an NGO which focuses on providing employability training to Nigerian graduates.

On his part, the statement said Ipinmoye was currently the factory manager at, Agbara factory. He is a certified professional coach and a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants.

He had joined Nestle Nigeria as a graduate trainee in 1993 and was appointed in 2016 to be the factory manager, Flowergate Factory, where he effectively built and sustained a high-performing culture at the factory.

He holds an M.Sc degree in biochemistry from the University of Ilorin and an M.Sc degree in management from Commonwealth Open University, United Kingdom.

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Brands

FrieslandCampina Re-Launches Olympic, Coast Milk Brands

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FrieslandCampina WAMCO, Nigeria’s foremost dairy company and makers of Peak and Three Crowns milk, has re-launched Olympic, Coast, and Nunu milk brands into the Nigerian market through the ‘Word twist’ campaign.

The new ‘Word twist’ campaign requires consumers to compose meaningful sentences with Coast, Olympic, and Nunu for a chance to win fantastic prizes.

For example, “You can now Coast to natural goodness like the fastest man alive cruises to Olympic medals with one Nunu milk a day in your meal.”

Omolara Banjoko, marketing manager, FrieslandCampina disclosed that the campaign became necessary following FrieslandCampina WAMCO’s acquisition of PZ Nutricima and its brands; Olympic, Coast, and Nunu.

“These brands have an existing portfolio across different formats with varied strengths in the different regions of the country. Hence, with this campaign, we plan to strengthen the perception of the brands leveraging FrieslandCampina WAMCO’s strong heritage” Banjoko said.

She further explained that FrieslandCampina is committed to bringing affordable and readily available quality dairy products to Nigerians and with the acquisition, it will be able to meet the growing demands of its consumers.

“Coast Milk promises natural goodness and therefore it is a perfect match that will work well with consumers who wish to stick to natural-made products.

“Adults have a myriad of responsibilities to attend to daily and with Olympic milk, they are assured of getting the right nutrients that will cater to their energy needs and active lifestyle,” she said.

“Nunu offers nutrient-rich milk that can conveniently be used by consumers and businesses looking to upgrade their everyday meal and intermediate products. Olympic, Nunu, and Coast milk are back like they never left and we encourage people to look out for the brands in their neighborhood” Banjoko added.

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