The House of Representatives on Wednesday summoned the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, over the ongoing strike by oil workers in the country.
Also summoned were the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Joseph Dawah, the leadership of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers.
The House issued the summons through its Joint Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream)/Petroleum Resources (Downstream); and Gas Resources.
In a statement signed by the three chairmen of the committees in Abuja, the House said it was worried that a strike in the oil sector at this time would adversely affect the country’s economy.
Those who signed the document were Mr. Muraina Ajibola (Upstream); Mr. Dakuku Peterside (Downstream); and Mr. Bassey Ewa (Gas Resources).
The statement noted that media reports indicated that members of staff of the NNPC had already embarked on strike.
“The Joint Oil and Gas Committee of the House of Representatives is concerned by the strike, as reported in the media by members of staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,” it said.
The lawmakers observed that as the main driver of the economy, any strike in the oil sector would be costly.
The statement added, “Alive to our constitutional responsibilities, the joint committee has decided to intervene in this matter with a view to resolving whatever the issues may be.
“Accordingly, we have invited the Minister of Petroleum Resources and the affected unions and relevant stakeholders in the sector to a meeting for tomorrow, Thursday, September 18, 2014.
“Given the urgency of this matter, it is our hope that the relevant parties will attend this meeting.
“We enjoin the parties to work with us to resolve their differences in the overall interest of the nation.”
The joint committee fixed 11am as the time of the meeting.
Media reports indicated on Monday that a major cause of the looming crisis was the dispute over compliance with the Pension Reform Act, 2014.
The National Pension Commission had already given the NNPC a 12-month grace to ensure full compliance with the law.
On Monday, the Group General Manager, NNPC Public Affairs Division, Ohi Alegbe, had stated in Abuja that the corporation would ensure that the strike was averted.
The NNPC had added that as of 2010, there was N298bn funding gap in the pension scheme, which had been reduced to N85bn in June this year.