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Petroleum and Gas Workers Embark of MAss Protest In Lagos and Portharcourt….. + How General Electric Owes Arco Workers Millions…

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Workers in the petroleum and gas sector have threatened to embark on an industrial action to protest the abuse of court order and the Nigerian local content law by the Nigeria Agip Oil Company.

 

The workers, under the auspices of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, made this known in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

 

In a statement jointly signed by the Port Harcourt Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, Godwin Eruba, and his PENGASSAN counterpart, Azubuike Azubuike, the unions also called for immediate payment of the overhaul allowance of Arco workers, which accumulated between 2007 and 2012 at OB/OB, Ebocha and Kwale gas plants.

 

“NUPENG and PENGASSAN strongly condemn the quit order given to Arco Petroleum (Nigeria) Plc by NAOC to vacate their plants at OB/OB, Ebocha and Kwale with immediate effect to give way for Plantgeria (Nigeria) Limited, to take over the plant,” the statement reads.

 

“The unions hereby make reference to a subsisting Federal High Court injunction barring NAOC from taking any action till October 26, 2015 when the case is to come up for hearing.

 

“The unions hereby draw the attention of both Federal and Rivers State Governments on the plight of Arco workers, whose entitlements of over nine years are at stake, if NAOC management carries out this inhuman order.

 

“Both Unions hereby call on General Electric (GE) to immediately pay the Arco workers their overhaul allowance which was accumulated between 2007 to 2012, at OB/OB, Ebocha and Kwale Gas plants.”

 

The unions noted that during a meeting held at the instance of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity in Abuja, Agip had agreed to pay the accumulated allowances.

 

They also called on Arco to immediately put all machineries in motion to pay their members their accrued nine years terminal entitlements, saying that the workers would not vacate the gas plants until they are paid.

 

“Both unions hereby resolve that if NAOC is not called to order to rescind its decision and follow due process as required by law, which include demobilization, if and when Arco is to leave the contract, the unions will have no option than to embark on a zonal industrial action to address the injustice meted out to our members,” the groups vowed.

 

The two unions also expressed anger over the ordered issued by Agip for Arco to vacate the OB/OB, Ebocha and Kwale plants to pave way for a new contractor, Plantgeria, to take over the maintenance of the facilities.

 

They vowed to take every lawful measure to ensure that the Italian oil firm does not rubbish the Nigerian judiciary and the country’s local content law.

 

The unions called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Nyesom Wike to intervene and ensure that Agip respects the Nigerian law.

 

While they would not be willing to ground the nation’s economy, the unions said they would not hesitate to order their members to down tools if Agip violates the injunction of the court.

 

The Italian oil giant Agip and Arco, a foremost Nigerian oil and gas firm, have been locked in prolonged dispute over the maintenance contract for OB/OB, Ebocha and Kwale gas plants.

 

Arco had dragged Agip, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Conoco Philips Petroleum Nigeria Limited, and the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) to court early in the year, stating that under the Nigeria Content Act, Agip was under obligation to it, in the award maintenance contract of OB/OB, Ebocha and Kwale gas plants.

 

Having successfully maintained the OB/OB, Ebocha and Kwale gas facilities for many years, Arco had averred that it had the prescribed equipment, machines and skilled manpower to execute the contract and further prayed the court to grant it several other declarative and injunctive reliefs.

 

But Justice Akanbi had expressly directed parties to the case to maintain the status quo in the maintenance contract dispute for which he had previously ordered Agip to stay action until motion on notice was determined.

 

He also adjourned the case to October 26, for determination of jurisdiction.

 

But on Tuesday, the Chairman of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASAN, Arco Chapter, Clinton Amadike, said his colleagues were ordered out of the gas plant in Omoku, Rivers State.

 

Mr. Amadike said Agip, through a Joint Venture Partner, General Electric, gave the order after staff of the indigenous oil company reported for work.

 

“Agip has violated the court order. They have asked our staff to surrender operations to Plantgeria,” the union leader said.

 

“GE is the company that is supervising the contract. Once GE gives orders, Arco obeys. But we are asked to stay out of the process.  We don’t know what will happen tomorrow. We don’t know whether they will allow us into the plant.

 

“Our staff are currently in confinement. We have locked ourselves inside the workshop to prevent any form of harassment either by NAOIC and security operatives at the plant.”

 

But reacting to the development, Mr. Sagay said strongly argued that nobody has the right to disobey the order the court.

 

“Nobody or entity or organisation has the right to disobey the order of a court in Nigeria. A court order is binding until it is vacated by that court that granted it or a superior court,” said the legal luminary.

 

“Unless that happens, the court order is binding and must be respected. Anyone who refuses to carry out that order is guilty of contempt of court.

 

“And from the facts of the matter, if there is no contrary court order from a higher court then obviously Agip is guilty of contempt of court and what it is doing is illegal.’

 

On the recurrent case of disobedience to court orders by some multinationals operating in the country, Mr. Sagay advised interested parties to commit the leaders of the offending companies to jail.

 

He insisted that the managing director of the Italian oil firm should be committed to prison to serve as a deterrent to others.

 

On his part, Mr. Hon said, urged the court to commit the leadership of Agip to prison for disobeying a legitimate order of the court.

 

“If any action has been after the court had issued an injunction, it means Agip is in contempt of court and its leadership should be held responsible. The judicial powers of the Federation are vested in the courts and the rule of law has also been established in the prosecution,” Mr. Hon said.

 

“Nobody is above the law and no organisation should operate in such a way as to be seen to be above the law.

 

“If indeed Agip has flouted the court order, the affected party should urgently take steps to reverse it through restorative injunction. The court has the powers to restore what Agip has caused to be done wrongly.

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Transcorp Group Announces N142 Billion Revenue, N58.8 billion PBT, and Celebrates 10 year’s unbroken Dividend payment, at 18th Annual General Meeting

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Transnational Corporation Plc (Transcorp Group or the Group), Nigeria’s leading listed conglomerate, announced 57% revenue growth, from N90.3 billion in 2022 to N142.1 billion in 2023, at its 18th Annual General Meeting (AGM), held on Monday, May 27, 2024, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

The Company’s outstanding financial results were driven by successful execution across all business lines and demonstrated Transcorp Group’s ability to deliver to all its stakeholders, including shareholders. At the AGM, Transcorp Group confirmed excellent year-on-year growth: the Group’s total assets grew by 20% increase, up from N422.7 billion in 2022 to N529.9 billion in 2023, PBT grew from N30.3 billion in 2022 to N58.8 billion in 2023, and PAT for the Group increased from N16.8 billion to N32.5 billion. This performance was due to the strong results across its subsidiaries: Transcorp Hotels Plc, Transcorp Power Plc, Transafam Power Ltd, and Transcorp Energy Ltd.

The Group’s power subsidiaries, which together with its strategic investment in OPL281, form the basis of its integrated energy strategy, also achieved significant growth, achieving a profit increase of 63%, from N17.7 billion in the previous year to N28.9 billion in 2023. Transcorp’s power businesses, Transcorp Power Plc and Transafam Power, provide over 20% of Nigeria’s installed power capacity and the Group recently entered the distribution sector, through its investment in Abuja Electricity Distribution Plc.

The Group’s hospitality business achieved record average occupancy of 81%, with profit increasing by 105% from N4.6 billion in the previous year to N9.5 billion in 2023; while revenue grew by 36% from N30.4 billion in 2022 to N41.5 billion.

President/Group CEO, Dr. Owen D. Omogiafo, OON, highlighted the Group’s strategic growth plans, including the multipurpose, world-class 5,000-capacity event centre at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja, opening this year, as well as the ambition to increase available power generation capacity. She said: “The reward for success is more work, and across our Group, we are not relenting. We are focused on maximising our strengths and opportunities for vertical growth, to deliver more value and achieve sustainable growth. We are confident that the coming year will bring even more value to our shareholders.”

Tony O. Elumelu, CFR, Group Chairman, explained: “Transcorp Group has not only recorded unprecedented growth, the Group has demonstrated its potential to deliver much more value to stakeholders and to our country. The sustained success of all our businesses reflects our resolute stance on corporate governance, our commitment to improving lives and transforming communities, and the priority we place on our people. Despite the current macro-economic challenges, the future remains an exciting one”.

“Government has a critical role to play. We remain committed to creating more value and appreciate the policies already implemented. However, we call on the Federal Government to prioritise the crippling issues in the power sector. The challenges in the power sector should be uppermost in our nation’s transformation agenda. The private sector cannot thrive without improved access to electricity. Fundamentally reforming the power sector is essential to our national economic transformation.”

Shareholders at the AGM approved a dividend of 10 kobo, a 100% increase over the previous year. The financial year 2023 is the 10th consecutive year of consistent dividend payment by Transcorp Group.

Shareholders also lauded Transcorp Group’s commitment to growing shareholder value and strong corporate governance, as well as its consistency in paying dividends year-on-year. The Group’s commitment to community and social responsibility, inclusive of its sustainability and CSR projects, was also commended at the AGM.

About Transnational Corporation

Transnational Corporation Plc (Transcorp Group) is one of Africa’s leading, listed conglomerates, with strategic investments in the power, hospitality, and energy sectors, driven by its mission to improve lives and transform Africa.

Transcorp’s power businesses, Transcorp Power Plc and Transafam Power, provide over 20% of Nigeria’s installed power capacity. Transcorp is committed to developing Nigeria’s domestic energy value chain, through its investments in OPL287. The Group’s hospitality business, Transcorp Hotels Plc owns the iconic Transcorp Hilton Abuja, Nigeria’s flagship hospitality destination, and has launched the digital platform Aura by Transcorp Hotels.

www.transcorpgroup.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anxiety as CBN sacks 200 employees

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No fewer than 200 officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria were on Friday relieved of their duties, adding to the long list of ongoing disengagements in the apex bank, Saturday PUNCH reports.

This adds to the list of 117 staff sacked by the bank between March 15th and April 11, 2024.

The termination of appointments affects directors, deputy directors, assistant directors, principal managers, senior managers and lower-ranking staff.

Impeccable sources who are staff of the bank confirmed the sacking to our correspondent on Friday, adding that the sacked persons were more than 200 but not less than 200.

They revealed that the new move included older directors who were not affected by the last round of retrenchment.

One of the sources in a 20-second call with our correspondent simply stated, “It is true and confirmed.”

The staff who could not disclose further details for fear of being tapped added that the move had caused palpable apprehension amongst staff of every cadre as the management had not specified any standard criteria for the decisions.

Another undeniable authority confirmed the information, indicating that additional dismissals are expected in the months ahead, spread out across staggered phases.

The official said, “It is real and is even more than 200 officials but the actual number is unconfirmed yet. The sacking is coming in staggered phases and that is why we can’t confirm the number yet.

“But it is not less than 200. The sacked persons include directors and other cadres but the ones that are easily known are the directors. Some of the old directors that were not affected during the last round of sacks are now affected.”

The sack letter obtained by our correspondent and issued by the Human Resources Department on May 24, 2024, indicated that the policy was to reorganise the organisation for effective operations.

The letter, lacking a signature, read, “The new strategic direction of the bank has been widely publicised. In line with our new mission and vision, the bank is currently undergoing a significant organisational and human capital restructuring process.

“As a result of this review, I have been directed to notify you that your services will not be required with effect from Friday, 24th May 2024. Your final entitlements will be calculated and paid to you in due course. Thank you”

In February, at least 1,500 members of staff of the apex bank of Nigeria were redeployed from the headquarters located at Central Area to its Lagos office.

At the time, the CBN said the action was necessitated by several factors, including the need to align the bank’s structure with its functions and objectives and redistribute skills to ensure a more even geographical spread of talent.

It added that it was also in compliance with building regulations, as indicated by repeated warnings from the facility manager, and the findings and recommendations of the Committee on Decongestion of the CBN Head Office.

Efforts to get the reaction of the Director of Corporate Communication, Hakama Sidi Ali, was not successful as she did not respond to several calls sent across to her or reply the text messages to her line.

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Paris-bound bizman arrested with 111 cocaine wraps

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has arrested a 48-year-old businessman, Emmanuel Orjinze, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, for ingesting 111 wraps of cocaine.

The suspect, who claimed to be a professional footballer in Europe, was arrested on May 21 during the outward clearance of an Air France flight to Paris, France.

This was made known in a statement signed by the agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, and shared on the agency’s website on Sunday.

The statement read, “Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency have arrested a 48-year-old Paris, France-bound businessman, Emmanuel Okechuku Orjinze, for ingesting 111 wraps of cocaine, which he excreted after days of observation in the agency’s custody following his arrest at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

“Okechukwu, who also claims he is a professional footballer in Europe, was arrested on Tuesday, May 21, during the outward clearance of Air France flight AF 878 from Abuja to Paris, France.

“After a body scan confirmed he ingested illicit drugs, he was taken into custody where he excreted a total of 111 pellets of cocaine that weighed 1.603 kilograms over three days. The suspect claimed he did business in the maritime sector while still scouting for any European football club to engage him. ”

In the same vein, the NDLEA officers operating at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos hinted that they had dismantled another drug trafficking syndicate at the airport.

This, they said in a statement, followed the arrest of four members of the network and the seizure of a total of 8kg of methamphetamine and 7.60kg of Loud, a synthetic strain of cannabis imported from South Africa.

The statement added that a drug trafficking syndicate was busted at the airport when an official was caught with illicit substances in their backpack and bag.

On May 21, 2024, the NDLEA officers, supported by aviation security, intercepted the official at Terminal 1 and discovered the drugs during a search, blowing the lid off the syndicate.

“A swift follow-up operation at the Ajao Estate area of Lagos led to the arrest of two other members of the syndicate: Chris Nwadozie and Chinedu Nwaosu. Further investigation led to the arrest of another member of the cartel working within the airport system on Saturday, May 25,” the statement added.

In a related development, the agency also arrested a freight agent, Sonubi Abiodun, for attempting to export eight parcels of cocaine concealed in paint buckets to the United Kingdom.

Additionally, the NDLEA operatives arrested suspects producing and distributing skuchies, a mixture of black currant and illicit drugs, in Lagos, and recovered 2,480 litres of the psychoactive substance.

In Cross River State, a suspect, Ogar Emmanuel, was arrested with 2.5kg of cannabis, while 290kg of cannabis was recovered from the warehouse of Usani Ikpi, who is still at large. Additionally, three suspects – Sa’adu Sule, Mukhtar Nura, and Hamza Nura – were arrested in Katsina State with 70kg of cannabis, which originated from Ogun State.

The statement added, “No fewer than five suspects including Ezekiel Munda, 30; and Sule Mustapha, 21, were arrested by the NDLEA operatives on Thursday, May 23, during raids at the Karu Abattoir, Jikwoyi and Tora Bora hill area of the FCT, Abuja, where 95.01kg of cannabis and different quantities of opioids were recovered from them.

“In Edo State, operatives arrested a physically challenged notorious drug dealer, Zekere Sufianu, 45, at Auchi town on Wednesday, May 22. At the time of his arrest, he was found with 751 grams of Loud, 178 grams of tramadol, and pills of swinol,” the statement concluded.

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