COVID-19: Union kicks as Rivers detains oil workers

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria has said the Rivers State Government detained 21 of its members on Thursday amid the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.

It noted that the detained oil workers and staff of ExxonMobil Nigeria were on essential service when they were intercepted by a security team led by the State Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura.

This was contained in a statement signed on Friday by the Chairman, PENGASSAN, Mobil Producing Nigeria Branch, Razaq Obe.

The statement read in part, “At 03:30 pm on Thursday, April 16, 2020, Rivers State Commissioner of Police with his team and a top Army commander intercepted the convoy (protected by the police) conveying 21 ExxonMobil personnel who are PENGASSAN members on their way to Intels, Port Harcourt, at Bori (Akwa Ibom/Rivers boundary).

“The commissioner rebuffed all explanations and forced them to move to Elekaya Stadium, Port Harcourt, where they have been detained, verbally assaulted and starved.

“The original pretext for sending them to the stadium was to test for COVID-19 but there was no such possibility at the location. They rather served them papers to write statements.

“We condemn the continued detention of the 21 members of our Union who stake everything to produce the oil and country depends on for survival.

“We call on all stakeholders to prevail on the government of Rivers State to end this most unpleasant drama. Our members have broken no law.”

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