UFOMBA UZUEGBU, Asst News Editor
Faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed dismay over alleged non employment Nigerian Fitters and other qualified Nigerian artisans in the Dangote Refinery Project by its handlers..
In a petition it forwarded to the Minister of Labour and Emploment, Dr Chris Ngige, through the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), the Congress alleged that its investigations showed that foreigners in their hundreds were being brought in to do the job Nigerian Fitters and Welders are perfectly competent and eminently qualified to do by all standards.
The petition titled :”Non employment of Nigerian Fitters In the Ongoing Dangote Refinery Project in Lekki, Lagos State”, read inter alia : “We want to bring to your notice the worrying and unwholesome labour practices currently going on in the Dangote group’s Refinery Project under construction in Lekki, Lagos for your kind attention and intervention.
“A visit to the site will confuse the ordinary Nigerian into believing that thisis a foreign construction site. This preference for Asians and other foreign nationals against Nigerian workers is befuddling and negates the avowals of this Government on Job creation and deepening the participation of Nigerians and Nigerian Companies in the Oil and Gas industry through the Local Content Policy.
It noted that that indigenous fitters were fully involved in the construction of the nation’s four refineries , stressing that there was nothing new that they could do in the one owned by Dangote group of companies that would warrant their exclusion especially at this time of hash economic circumstances with increasing mass unemployment.
“This is therefore not a case of inadequate local skills and nobody should be confused about this. As if they have not done enough damage already, just few days ago, this Company brought in about 500 Indians – all Fitters who will undergo Fitter’s test on Tuesday the 14th of this month to enable them work in the Company. This is completely an outrage.”
Congress wondered why a Nigerian Company in this time and age decide to hire foreigners to do jobs that can easily be done by jobless Nigerians.
The history of Dangote group’s anti-union posture is well known and we believe that time has come for the federal Government if it wishes to fulfil its electoral promises to the people to intervene in this outright irresponsibility and call the directors of that company to order.
It called on the Federal Government through the federal Ministry of Labour ought to act quickly and decisively in the matter to save Nigerian jobs for Nigerians and stop the haemorrhaging of our foreign exchange resources as the foreign workers are also paid in foreign currencies.
“Dangote group must expel the foreign workers and replace them immediately with Nigerian workers – Fitters and Welders and other artisans of their choice.
“However, if Dangote group refuses to be called to order and begins to act responsibly, Congress will proceed to take appropriate measures to compel the Company to act patriotically and this will include an immediate campaign throughout Nigeria for a boycott of all Dangote products.
“Since he loves Asians and foreigners more than Nigerians, this will allow the Company to sell its products to them.”