Group Warns PENGASSAN, Others Against Being Used As Tools To Destabilise NCDMB

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The Concerned Niger Delta Youths Group has warned the PENGASSAN branch of the Nigerian Content Development Management Board (NCDMB) not to be used as a tool by the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, to meddle in the Boards internal affairs.

There has been a simmering misunderstanding between the Minister and the newly appointed Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Omatsola Ogbe, regarding certain board management decisions, which are viewed as unnecessary meddling in the affairs of the government agency.
The Group is concerned that the Executive Secretary has only been in office for a month and has not been allowed to settle down to face the organisation’s assignment by the Minister, who now appears to want to dictate what happens in the organisation’s internal affairs.
According to Mr Trueson Ogiri, President of the Niger Delta Group, alleged that the Minister has gone beyond warning the Executive Secretary about his staff redeployment to using the organisation’s workers branch to further disrupt office work.
PENGASSAN wrote to the Executive Secretary of NCDMB on Monday, March 11, via letter PEN/LT/11-03-24, conveying the “resolution of Congress to embark on a board-wide withdrawal of services by all union members.” The decision to withdraw our services and shut down the board’s operations was unanimously made at an emergency hybrid congress held on Monday, March 11, 2024.”

The letter, signed by the branch Chairman Comrades Benson Inifie, Simeon O Esiekpe, the branch Secretary, and Yague Tubikumo Industrial Relations, claimed that the Union’s action is based on the apparent impasse between the Lokpobiri and the Executive Secretary of the Board over the redeployment of management staff.
“The Executive Secretary is kindly invited to note that PENGASSAN, as a labour union, was established to protect members’ jobs and improve their welfare. However, the apparent impasse has jeopardised members’ salaries, travel claims, and other approvals that would improve our members’ welfare.”

The group, on the other hand, accused the union of meddling because it had no basis or bearing on the issue at hand.
The group’s leader, Ogiri, expressed displeasure that the PENGASSAN branch of NCDMB could stoop so low as to shut down operations in Yenagoa without using the normal route.

He questioned: “What is the union’s business in an issue that has only been bothering the minister and ES for a week? It is unfortunate for the minister to incite staff disobedience and create a crisis in the NCDMB.

Interestingly, the fight took a new turn yesterday when the Port Harcourt zone of PENGASASAN wrote the branch Chairman of the NCDMB branch at the Ox-Bow Lake Road in Yenagoa in a letter dated Tuesday, March 12.

The letter, signed by Comrade Regina Ewah, the Assistant Secretary General and copied to the General Secretary and President, stated, “We have been informed that you have shut down the NCDMB office and withdrawn our members from work.” You are hereby directed to suspend all industrial actions effective immediately.
“Our members should return to work right away, and normalcy should resume. We instruct members to maintain restraint, tranquillity, and a peaceful industrial environment. We expect complete compliance.”
However, it was gathered that following Lopkobiri’s earlier letter instructing staff to ignore the Executive Secretary’s redeployment of staff and maintain the status quo, a top Niger Delta minister brokered a truce between the Minister of State and the Executive Secretary, telling Lokpobiri not to confuse the organisation.
The Minister, a former governor, had advised Lokpobiri not to interfere with the internal workings of the Local Content Management office, but the Minister of State is determined to meddle in the NCDMB.
According to sources who were present at the meeting, the Minister explained to Lokpobiri, a former Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Senator, and Minister of Agriculture, that two Ministers of State from the Niger Delta, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and Timipre Sylva, all served as Ministers of State and never bothered the immediate past ES of NCDMB.
As a result, he said the new Executive Secretary should be given time to settle in and carry out President Bola Tinubu’s mandate, which was signed last week with the Executive Order on Oil and Gas and the ease of doing business in the industry.

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