Our Reporter: TONY JOHN, PORT HARCOURT
Hundreds of retiree staff members of Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), yesterday, grounded business activities in the company in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, as they prevented vehicles in and out of its premises, protesting against maltreatment by management.
The aggrieved retirees stood at the entrance, while some sat on plastic chairs at the entrance of the gate, chanting solidarity songs, insisting that no vehicle would enter or leave the company’s premises until the General Manager District, settles them.
The senior citizens, some of whom had put at least 20 years in service, staged the peaceful demonstration to press home their grievance and alleged company’s insensitivity to their plight. Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: “Stop killing pension fund and pensioners”; “General Manager District must go”; “Why suffer the geese that laid the golden egg?” and “Phillip ‘66’ must return, Eni must go back to Milan.”
According to the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), NAOC branch, Prince Stanley Oselukwue, in the past six years, Agip had refused to give them their entitlements. Oselukwue, who retired after 30 years of active service accused the management of being the cause of retirees’ predicament, pointing out that they had written many letters to the management without reply.
“We staged this protest because of the maltreatment from the company. Ever since we have been working here, everything was normal. Things were working fine, every remuneration was being given to us. But for the past six years, they refused giving us anything. When we request, they turn it down. We have written series of letters to the management and relevant authorities. They refused to honour any of them; no increment for us, the identity card they prepared recently, they cannot give us. They deliberately denied us of everything. Whenever we come here, the security would tell us to write our names, which was not like that before. You register your name before you enter,” he said.
He asked: “Is it the right way to treat a retiree, who contributed to make the company what it is today? It is not possible; it is quite unfair. That is why we are resisting it today, that the treatment must stop by any means. And we mean that it must stop.”
He lamented that retirees had faced untold hardship due to the company’s unfair treatment, saying the way out of their predicament was the immediate removal of the GMD. “The new GMD, I want to comment about, is the cause of this problem. From all indication, he is the one telling them what to do.
Source : SunOnline