Oil workers protest at Aiteo’s OML 29 in Bayelsa

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….As CBN injects $210m into Forex market***

Surveillance workers in Opu-Nembe in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa staged a protest at OML 29 operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company on Tuesday

The Shell Petroleum Development Company had in September 2015 divested from OML 29 located at Odema Creek and Santa Babara flow station.

It was gathered that the workers were aggrieved over the company’s refusal to pay them their outstanding salaries.

The protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as “Aiteo, stop your divide and rule tactics among your host community’, and “Aiteo, you promised to be better than Shell”,”Aiteo, community contractors need fairer deals, give us our due.”

Leading the protesters who numbered over 100, their spokesperson, Nicholas Ebiye, challenged the company to meet its contractual obligations to enable the workers get their remunerations promptly, stressing that the company must review upward, the contract value of their employers to enable their pay to be at par with newly employed surveillance workers.

The protesters also demanded that Aiteo provide speedboats for free mobility as well as the provision of safety protection equipment.

They also demanded payment of bonus at the end of every six months and arrears owned them since 2015 when Shell divested and assigned the facility to the company.

The protesters further asked Aiteo to make prompt payment of their monthly emoluments at the end of every month.

They gave the company two weeks within which to comply to avoid breach of industrial harmony.

The group regretted Aiteo’s inability to meet its responsibilities since inception over two year ago.

The oil company, the group alleged,  had refused to pay over N300 million it owned its host community, Opu-Nembe,  over hiring of the community’s speedboats,  MV Ogbodo 1 and 2.

Responding, the Acting Operational Supervisor at the field, Mr Umezurike Oyinbuchi, assured the protesters that he would channel their grievances to the management of the company for dialogue with their representatives.

The Director of Security Services at Odema Flow station,Mr Girgi Vershima , told the protesters that surveillance workers from Odioma community had shut down the flow station and urged them to embrace dialogue.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday injected $210 million to meet customers’ requests in various segments of the foreign exchange market.

The gesture has assisted the Naira to stabilize, exchanging at an average of N362 to a dollar in the BDC segment.

The Acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor in a statement in Abuja said the bank offered 100 million dollars to authorised dealers in the wholesale segment of the market.

He said that the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment got 55 million dollars, while another 55 million dollars was allocated for tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others.

Okorafor reiterated the bank’s commitment to continue to intervene in the interbank foreign exchange market, in line with its pledge to sustain liquidity in the market and maintain stability.

He said that the CBN would sustain its strategic management of the foreign exchange market with a view to reducing the country’s import bills and halt depletion of its foreign reserves.

The CBN had on June 5, approved an upward review of the trading margin available to operators of Bureau De Change (BDC) in the country.

To this effect, BDC operators now buy dollars from the CBN at N357 per dollar and sell at N360, thereby leaving them with a positive margin of N3 per dollar sold.