Tuesday 18 April 2023

Exxon Mobil Chairman, Richard Laing’s gross exploitation of Nigerians uncovered

He has barely spent three years as Chairman & Managing Director of ExxonMobil affiliate Companies in Nigeria, but Richard Liang’s catalogue of atrocities including abuse of court processes and gross exploitation of Nigerians will make anyone shudder.

About six months into his headship of Exxonmobil affiliate companies like Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria (Offshore East) Limited, a federal high court in Abuja ordered Laing’s arrest after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, argued that he refused to appear over an investigation into an alleged fraudulent pipeline project concerning his company. Liang’s portfolio covers

The EFCC said the investigation related to the alleged fraudulent creation of procurement orders worth more than $213 million as part of a pipelines project. Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court compelled Laing to appear before anti-graft investigators. Typically, not much was heard about the case again.

In the industry, however, tales abound of Laing’s oppressive and draconian leadership, and corrupt practices. Matters have now got to a head as the Petroleum & Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) Mobil Producing Nigeria Branch, has downed tools.

A communiqué issued by the workers’ union last Wednesday highlighted some of the Laing-led management’s atrocities to include; “Unilateral implementation of company processes against CBA provisions, abuse of agreed disciplinary procedures, insistent on a 28/28 rota schedule as a basis to negotiate, forced requirement to shift early retirement age to 50 years of age/15 years of service against industry practice and even when they have concluded to divest, and refusal to address the worsening personnel manning levels.”

Other transgressions as listed in the communiqué include; “Refusal to address the health-threatening catering issues and living conditions in Field locations, dilapidated facilities, lack of will to conclude negotiations, imposition of expats ex-service men as security personnel against the requirement of the Nigerian State, non-implementation of three out of four resolutions reached at the mediation by NUIMS in Abuja on September 13, 2022.”

The union stated that all efforts to mediate failed due to “management’s deliberate refusal to follow reasonable guide from well-meaning Nigerians including mediation from National PENGASSAN and the NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS) Limited to redress above listed matters.”

To underscore its seriousness, the joint leadership of the Branch Executive Council (BEC) and Chapter Executive Councils (CEC) met and issued a 7-day warning, which lapsed Thursday, April 12. Should the management not soften its stance or address the allegations highlighted, the union instructed fellow workers not to log on to their system to do any company work whether at home or in their office locations, and that all maintenance folks should not submit any maintenance report nor render any service.

Further, “Stop all contractor work, projects and vacate them from worksite; this includes foreign expat and local contractors in all departments and most especially in field work locations.
“All Field and Console operators should not participate in any of the following: daily report, energy component, production reports, meetings, and any other report. All field-based office workers should not log on to their system to do any company work.

“All members shall withdraw services in Lagos, Abuja, Eket, QIT field office locations, Joint Venture Operations (JVO) / Offshore locations and Deepwater Operations covering Erha and Usan. No member should participate in Export and Offloading activities.”
As you read, the Scotland-born Laing has still not addressed the agitations of the workers.

The Capital NG

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