The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has threatened to call on all oil and gas companies in the country to shut down their installations over alleged anti-labor practices by Brittania-U. Founded by energy industry tycoon Uju Ifejika, Britannia-U is a leading player operating in Nigeria’s upstream and downstream sectors.
The Guardian recently reported that PENGASSAN Lagos Zone Acting Chairman Eyam Abeng claimed that the company is mistreating and terminating workers who are aspiring to unionize.
Abeng said that the company is violating Section 40 of the Constitution of Nigeria on freedom of association, is failing to respect the principle of collective bargaining agreements, and is also infringing the International Labor Organization’s Convention 87, which safeguards the rights of workers and empowers them to unionize. Therefore, PENGASSAN is demanding justice for its colleagues, whom they believed have been deprived of their fundamental human rights.
The news report, however, stated that the tycoon failed to respond to the press at the time of the event as she was in a meeting.
In 2003, Uju Ifejika’s Brittania-U was awarded 100-percent interest in the Ajapa marginal field in an oil mining lease and 90 percent of the operatorship, according to the Petroleum Resources Ministry.
By 2007, the company started full upstream operations after its JV partners separately sourced funding totaling about $120 Million to embark on the first phase of the Ajapa marginal field development, comprising two side tracks and one appraisal. It said that Union Bank Plc fully funded its 60 percent equity contribution ($70 million) and had become a business partner of its first choice.
Brittania-U made history in 2019 when it acquired Nigeria’s largest oil vessel for cabotage trading, Business a.m. reported. Commenting on the feat, Princess Vicky Hastruup, the chairperson of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, said that the acquisition by a woman in Nigeria was a daring move and deserved commending. She added that she was proud that a woman demonstrated the capacity and courage to acquire such a large vessel.
Headquartered in Lagos, the company has branches in several regions of Nigeria, Ghana, and the United States. Uju Ifejika is regarded as one of the continent’s leading women in oil and gas and one of the richest women in Africa, with national and international accolades alike.