We will maintain industrial peace- PENGASSAN

Helen Shok Jok, Abuja


The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has promised to maintain the industrial harmony in the country which its late President Francis Johnson is known for.

The Acting President of the Union, Mr Frank Esanubi, made the promise in Abuja when the leadership of the Union receive the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr William Alo on a condolence visit.

Esanubi promised that the Union would do everything possible to maintain the industrial peace that Johnson left behind.

He said the leadership of the union had met to deliberate on how to take care of the deceased family.

“There will be a trust fund to cater for the education of the children to tertiary level. We promised to do our best to see that the family will not feel any material need,” he said.

He commended the leadership of the Ministry for the visit describing it as encouraging.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr William Alo, described late PENGASSAN President, Francis Johnson as a stabilising factor during industrial actions adding that the leadership style of the late President brought good industrial relations that helped the Ministry in the time past.

“I call him the stabilising person because throughout his stay we had peace with the Union,” Alo said.

The Permanent Secretary said the death of the President came as a shock to the Ministry, adding:“death is inevitable as everyone must taste it.

“We strongly believe that the time for Johnson to answer the call has come; we have no doubt in our hearts that he is in heaven,” he said.

Alo who led other officials from the Ministry appealed to the Union not to allow the family to suffer and promised on behalf of the Ministry to do to support the family.

He also urged the leadership of the Union to maintain the industrial peace that the late Johnson left behind.

In a condolence message to the Union and the Management of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation NNPC, where late Johnson was a staff until his death, the Labour Correspondents Association of Nigeria LACAN, said the demise of the labour leader will create a big vacuum in labour movement in Nigeria.

A statement signed by LACAN’s Chairman Michael Oche and Secretary Patrick Abulu, LACAN said that the late Francis Olabode Johnson was a consummate labour leader who strived to ensure government does the needful in terms of workers’ welfare as well as kept workers informed of the position of government and employers which ultimately avoided industrial action that may have thrown the economy into further hardship.

LACAN, according to the statement, appreciates a great deal the very peaceful and cordial working relationship that existed between Journalists, and the Late F.O Johnson.

“The Exco, and Members of the Labour Correspondents Association of Nigeria, LACAN which is an umbrella body for Journalists reporting the Labour and employment sector in Nigeria, wish to extend our sympathy to the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, Management and Staff as well as the Officials and members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, over the tragic loss of your staff and PENGASSAN President, Francis Olabode Johnson on Friday, May 31st,2019.

“LACAN cannot hold back tears for the many lives F.O Johnson has impacted in our Association.

“We call on the NNPC and PENGASSAN not to forget the family of F.O Johnson, it is our opinion that he should be  Immortalized  by his union naming the  PENGASSAN head office after F.O.Johnson and also by the NNPC by naming strategic places/buildings after him”, LACAN said.

Former Presidents of PENGASSAN Dr. Brown Ogbeifun and Mr Peter Esele, have also expressed shock over the death of Mr Francis Johnson.

The two labour leaders expressed the shock when they paid condolence visit to the family of the deceased in Abuja.

Ogbeifun, who also condoled with staffers of the Association, said that they had lost a bridge builder, who understood the act of communication and believed in mediation in the conflict resolution.

He said that the deceased was a respecter of people of all ages and at all times adding that the late President gave his life to the service of his country.

“And to his family, especially his wife, we know that no one can console you the way God will console you. The lord will be the best of husband to you,” he said.

Speaking, Mr Peter Esele, who was also a former President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria TUC, said that the news of Johnson’s death was shocking, painful and sad and described the deceased as a peace-loving ambassador, who was given to dialogue.

He said that the deceased always believed that there were lots of avenues to employed before embarking on strike.

According to him: “This is a huge loss to PENGASSAN in particular, and a loss to TUC in general, because union members know what he always had to offer.”

He said that the labour union would not neglect the deceased’s family, adding that all his children would be adequately taken care of.

“We have plans for the children and his name will be immortalised. The family will never walk alone because we will always stand with our own,” he said.

Responding, the Acting President of PENGASSAN, Frank Esanubi, said it had been a trying moment for the Union since Johnson died.

According to him, some people will die and nobody will remember them.

“It is not a function of the time that a person spends on earth, but a function of value.

“We shall miss him. We want to assure you that we shall be part of the family and by God’s help, we will do all we can for the family to support them.

“We are only appealing to the wife to be strong,” he said.

The Central Working Committee CWC, the National Executive Council NEC of PENGASSAN and past Presidents later paid a condolence visit to the Abuja home of the late President where they spoke on his leadership qualities, love to the labour family and his family especially his wife.

Until his death, Johnson was President of PENGASSAN and the third Deputy President of TUC.

The late Johnson died on Friday, May 31, at the National Hospital, Abuja, after a brief illness.