Nigerian oil workers are threatening to strike in three weeks if the government does not take steps to improve the security in the Niger Delta.
Nigeria’s white collar oil workers’ union PENGASSAN and its sister group NUPENG have promised to strike several times in the past, but failed to follow through on their threats after government intervention, Reuters reports.
“We have resolved that we can no longer pressure our people in the oil field to continue to operate in an unsafe atmosphere,” said Peter Akpatason, president of NUPENG.
“We are, therefore, going to carry out a series activities from tomorrow onwards and particularly at the end of 21 days, we shall be embarking on a compulsory three-day warning strike.”
The unions demanded the government work to gain the release of all kidnapped workers in the Niger Delta, boost security and intelligence in the region, and begin meaningful peace talks that involve all affected parties.
Violent crime in the Niger Delta, a vast network of mangrove creeks opening into the Atlantic Ocean, has surged since militants, who claim to be fighting for a fairer share of the region’s natural wealth, launched attacks three years ago.
Copy-cat gangs have carried out kidnappings for ransom, increasingly targeting wealthy Nigerians as well as expatriate oil workers.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the main militant group in the region, called off a five-month-old ceasefire in late January.
The group is still holding two British oil workers kidnapped last September.