The House of Representatives yesterday directed the management of Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) to reinstate the over 300 casual workers it relieved of their jobs pending the conclusion of investigation into the matter.
Adopting a motion initiated by Thomas Eveyitomi at the plenary presided over by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, the lower legislative chamber mandated its Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) to probe the issue.
The committee is to also to investigate forensically the recent recruitment of graduate trainees by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) with a view to determining how many persons were engaged from the various host communities.
Eveyitomi, while moving the motion, remarked that the WRPC had gone ahead to sack over 300 casual employees in defiance to the order of the Federal Government stating no public agency or private establishment should disengage workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The lawmaker claimed that all the affected persons were indigenes of the host communities where the refinery is located, consisting of Itsekiri and Urhobo settlements.
He regretted that NNPC went ahead to recruit 1,050 graduate trainees in disobedience to the resolution of the green chamber.
Arguing that the exercise did not reflect the principles of fairness as enshrined in Section 28(2) of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act, Eveyitomi submitted that it behoves the chamber to wade into the matter to avert the breakdown of law and order that could impact negatively on the smooth operations of the refining facility and its subsidiaries.
Samaila Suleiman, on his part, brought an amendment to the motion, stressing the need to include the Kaduna Refinery on the basis that about 170 workers from the host community were recently sacked. The prayer was also granted.