Following the shutdown of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, by many youths and about 500 support staff on Wednesday, Ndu Ughamadu, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), told Punch that there was no discrimination in how the recruitment process and staff regularization was being handled. 

He, however, said he was unsure if the corporation had any prior agreement to convert the demonstrating casual staff to permanent staff.

“There’s no discrimination in the process. I am not aware if there was any agreement with them,” Ughamadu said on Wednesday. 

Punch reports that the protesters had all entrances to the complex barred. They said the government owned subsidiary of the NNPC, gave them assurances that they would be upgraded from contract to full staff. Ughamadu also noted that the casuals had not been sidelined by the recruitment process.

“The casuals were also invited; but that aside, we have engaged them. We told them that after this exercise, there is another stage.

“If they didn’t fall into the first category, they may fall into the second category. That is what we are on. We don’t have casuals only in Warri refinery.

"We have casuals in all of our subsidiaries, including the headquarters and many of them applied, and they are undergoing interviews now. Jemi Mene-Ijegi, National Secretary of the Itsekiri National Youth Council, said the casuals were not included in the job conversations.

“Initially, we wrote a letter and they called us, excluding the casual staff, that the issue will be resolved. We told them to attend to the casual staff first. The second time, the same thing happened, which prompted the first protest,” Ijegi said.

Both the police and army were unable to dislodge the demonstrators even after pleas from officials of the refinery. 

The Warri refinery is situated in Ekpan, Uvwie local government area of Delta State.

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