In a striking protest that shook the oil-rich region of Port Harcourt, employees of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company gathered to vehemently oppose Oando Plc‘s impending acquisition of their company’s facilities.
With blockades at the Agip premises, they called upon the highest echelon of government and regulators to intervene, citing violations of labor laws and the potential loss of thousands of jobs.
Oando, a prominent Nigerian oil producer, earlier announced its plans to acquire Italian energy giant Eni’s onshore Nigerian division.
This groundbreaking deal encompasses control over onshore upstream assets nestled in the heart of the Niger Delta, including a significant stake in the country’s Brass River oil terminal.
The acquisition centers on Eni’s Nigerian Agip Oil Company Ltd (NAOC), which currently holds operating interests in four Nigerian onshore blocks (OML 60, 61, 62, 63).
The primary focus of their protest was the imminent acquisition of their company’s assets by Oando Plc. The protest, characterized by blockades that restricted access to Agip’s facilities, aimed to draw attention to their dire predicament.
Led by Eyong Survival, the company’s chapter chairman of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), the protesters asserted that the ongoing acquisition process flagrantly disregards established labor laws.
Survival warned that should this transaction be allowed to conclude, it could result in the displacement of more than 3,000 employees, casting a long shadow of uncertainty over their livelihoods.
Survival further alleged that the facilities affected by the acquisition encompass Oil Mining Leases located across Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, and Imo States. The protesters firmly believe that this takeover threatens the very essence of their job security and livelihoods.
As they await a satisfactory resolution from the company and relevant stakeholders, Agip’s employees have taken the extraordinary step of withdrawing their services from all Agip-run facilities.
This move has already begun to impact critical infrastructure and towns, with gas supplies disrupted as a direct consequence.
In the event that the acquisition moves forward, Eyong Survival emphasized the need for special severance packages to be extended to the affected staff. Those entitled to transfer to the new owner, Oando Plc, should also be granted a smooth transition without unnecessary impediments.
Oando Plc previously made headlines when it announced an agreement to purchase 100 per cent of the shares of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company from ENI.
However, the transaction remains subject to ministerial approval and other regulatory clearances, adding an additional layer of complexity to the unfolding situation.
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