Nigerian FG, Oil Firms on Collision Course

The Federal Government and International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country are on a collision course over abuse of expatriate quota by these multinational firms, THISDAY has learnt.

This development followed internal crisis in some of these companies, whose managements were accused of exceeding the approved expatriate quota, as contained in both the Nigerian Immigration Laws and the newly-enacted Nigerian Content Law.

THISDAY gathered that there is general disaffection in Addax, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell over alleged unfair treatment of Nigerian employees, with the aggrieved workers shutting down the operation of one of the companies last week for sacking some Nigerian workers.

Some of the companies were also accused by Nigerian employees of engaging expatriates who had stayed in the country longer than the maximum four- year duration stipulated by law.

In a letter dated December 1, 2010 and addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of Addax Petroleum Corporation, which was made available exclusively to THISDAY, the oil workers accused the Chinese investors that bought the company of violating Nigerian immigration laws by bringing in more than the approved number of expatriates.

The letter, which was signed by Mr. Adams Ibrahim, on behalf of senior oil workers, also accused the management of demoting Nigerian employees in a recent job evaluation exercise to pave the way for influx of expatriates.

“The Federal Government immigration law restricts the company to use approved expatriates and that they only do the assignments for which approval was given. Same law also directs the company to attach at least two Nigerians to be trained by these expatriates, after which, they will take over their functions,” he said

The workers accused the management of Addax of violating this law, which they said had been confirmed by the newly-enacted Nigerian Content Law.

“Those Nigerians understudying these expatriates have over-studied without graduating; when will they ever take over the job positions as recommended by law? Yet, all we see is influx of expatriates in the name of manpower contract,” he said.