Respite the way of 140 members of staff of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project on Thursday as the Senate Committee on the Environment vowed to appeal to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Allison-Madueke, to pay their 18 months salaries and allowances.
The Senate decision was sequel to the meeting between the Committee and a section of the members of the staff of HYPREP.
The staff had appealed to the committee members to intervene in their matter because all appeals made in writing to the project’s supervising ministry to pay their 18 months salary had been ignored.
While speaking with the committee, Sam Okedi, who led the delegation, informed the lawmakers that the intervention of the upper chamber became imperative in view of the fact that their individual families had suffered untold hardship, while some of them had either died or fallen sick due to the unfortunate development.
Okedi further explained that following the creation of the agency on July 20, 2012, the Federal Government appointed its National Coordinator, Joy Nunieh-Okunnu, who embarked on the recruitment that led to the employment of 140 staff.
He said the staff, under 10 technical working units, were distributed to Port Harcourt, Bori, and Yenagoa, but that the Head Office is at NNPC Towers in Abuja, under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
Okedi said, “The key issue is that the professional technical and management staff were recruited across the globe from a large number of countries, including the USA, Canada, Britain, Switzerland and from some countries in West Africa.
“Over the past 18 months, the staff had stayed put to work in order to provide the direction for the project and today HYPREP has a strategic plan that can be implemented immediately in four local government areas of Rivers State.”
Reacting on the plight of the staff members of the Senate committee, which had Senator Bukola Saraki as chairman and Messrs Ben Ayade, Boluwaji Kunlere and Hellen Esuene, among others as members, sympathized with the HYPREP representatives over their plight.
The lawmakers however, lamented that their hands were tied because the ministry under which their agency was created, was not the ministry they have oversight mandate over.
Saraki specifically pledged that the committee will, on moral grounds, formally appeal to the Petroleum Resources Ministry to pay their salaries.