THE Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) has cried out over an attack on workers of Capital Oil and Gas Industries Ltd by men suspected to be hired thugs on Saturday, November 7, 2020 while they were in a meeting deliberating on their unpaid 4 pears salaries and over ten years of pension deductions.
CDWR, in a press statement, signed by Comrade Rufus Olusesan, National Chairperson, and Comrade Chinedu Bosah, National Publicity Secretary, said the thugs pounced on the workers when they had gathered at their mass meeting at about 11am, at Sanya Truck Pack in Lagos injuring several of them. It therefore called on the police to investigate the attack and bring those behind it to justice if found wanting.
The statement, which was accompanied by gory pictures and two video clips of victims of the attack, accused the management of the company of being behind the attack, as it alleged that the leader of the thugs who carried out the attack has strong links with the management of Capital Oil and Gas Industries Ltd.
“Workers of Capital Oil and Gas Industries Ltd met on the morning of November 7, 2020 at about 11am, at Sanya Truck Pack in Lagos to deliberate on their unpaid 4 years salaries and unpaid/unremitted over 10 years pension. Capital Oil and Gas Industries Ltd is owned by Senator Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah.
“Onyeka Ifemenam, a Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) official (Capital Oil VIO) linked to Senator Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah led other armed thugs to disrupt the meeting and attacked workers leading to serious injuries. We are linking this attack to Senator Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah because Onyeka Ifemenam had earlier had a discussion with one of the workers (Mr Akujobi Ozoemena Barnaby) on October 5, 2020, and said he was instructed by Senator Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah to warn the workers to end the agitations against him or will be attacked.
“Mr Akujobi Ozoemena Barnaby had written a petition to the Lagos Zone 2, Police to complain about the threat. Onyeka Ifemenam actually led other armed thugs linked to Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Capital Zone to carry out this heinous attack.
“Two officials of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR), Comrade Chinedu Bosah and Comrade Rufus Olusesan were part of the meeting and were also attacked. Mr Uzoma Njoku and other workers who were brutally attacked by these armed thugs sustained different degrees of injuries and are currently being undergoing treatment at the hospital. These rented thugs stole phones belonging to some workers and seized their documents,” the press statement revealed.
According to CDWR, the management of Capital Oil and Gas stopped paying its workers in 2016. It said before then, workers were never fully remunerated on a monthly basis but instead “salaries were paid in a staggered manner leaving a backlog at every point in time.”
As a result of this haphazard payment, CDWR noted, “Capital Oil and Gas Industries Ltd is owing workers 4 years salaries, as the workers have not been sacked and had been reporting to work until recently when they got tired of coming to work.”
The company, according to the statement, has refused to document workers employment contract through employment letters to most of the employees, just as it also did not allow workers to unionise, a situation it said is in violation of the Labour Act.
CDWR further stated:
“Senator Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah has undermined workers’ right to pension having not enlisted workers to the pension scheme in violation of Section 2 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014. Hence, workers are owed over 10 year’s pension.
“The workers had approached Senator Ifeanyi Ubah officially to enter into a negotiation but he did not respond but only offered workers six months salaries under a militarized environment in meetings with workers. The only concrete response from Senator Ifeanyi is the current attack on workers by thugs linked to him, instigating violence.
“It is unfortunate that a sitting Senator (Ifeanyi Ubah) and a businessman would be linked to violence, crude exploitation, indecent work practices and attack on the rights of workers. The lives and security of workers are currently under serious threat as a result of their agitation for their entitlements.
“Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) is demanding that Senator Ifeanyi Ubah should pay workers their 4 years salaries and over 10 years pension. CDWR calls on the Nigeria Police to investigate the attack on workers by thugs and bring Onyeka Ifemenam and others linked to attacks including Senator Ifeanyi Ubah to justice if found wanting. We call on NUPENG and OPC leadership to call their members stationed at Capital Truck Park to order.
“The workers are undaunted and will continue the struggle despite the threat and attack by sponsored thugs and other forms of intimidation. Comrades of the CDWR will continue to work with the workers in solidarity.”
Efforts to reach the Executive Director of Capital Gas and Oil Industries, Mr Joseph Orji failed. A call to Mr Orji’s mobile rang out while a text message sent to him was not responded to as at the time of going to press.