Following the violent actions of some members of the Rivers State House of Assembly this week and the counter-reaction of others, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has threatened to withdraw its members from Rivers State if the politicians cannot conduct themselves in a manner befitting their status.
Speaking on behalf of the union, PENGASSAN President, Comrade Babatunde Ogun said it shows that political leaders in the country lack respect for the constitution and lack elementary democratic decorum.
Besides, he said, the state of fear that now prevails in Rivers is a threat to the lives and safety of oil and gas workers and the entire industry
Condemning the violence, the union pointed out that it could lead to the breakdown of law and order that will affect not only the state but spread to other parts of the country.
“The events in recent times are strong indications that the government may not be able to guarantee the security and protection of lives and properties of our people. In that wise, we cannot continue to risk the lives of our members and may have to withdraw them until when the situation is under control,” it threatened.
Comrade Ogun stated that the actions of the parties in the crisis have shown that political leaders only seek office in their personal interest, stressing that the public interest supersedes and is superior to individual interests.
He expressed the view that those trying to subvert Nigeria’s nascent democracy are some of those who never fought for it, saying, “Many people, especially labour leaders laid down their lives for this democracy to be in place. Many of us were incarcerated during the struggle to attain this democracy.”
The union president urged all parties and individuals involved in the fracas to pursue the path of peace and reconcile their differences, adding that they should take cognizance of the root causes of the North Africa and Middle East crises.
“If we dismiss the events in Rivers State, then we should know that what happened in North Africa, especially Egypt and Libya can equally come to play in Rivers and Nigeria as a whole,” he said.