General Electric on the spot By Louis Odion, FNGE

Nigeria’s Minister of Labor, Dr. Chris Ngige

About a decade ago, it was Halliburton,
an American oil service company,
which got indicted for nefarious activities in Nigeria. Whereas it was made to pay huge fine at home for the
infractions in Nigeria, not only did
it escape any charge here, all Nigerian Big Men implicated in the documents
through which it was penalized in the United
are still walking the streets freely in Nigeria today.

Lately, another oil major, Shell,
was exposed in the United Kingdom for
shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to senior Nigerian
officials for contracts. Whereas its top executives are currently running from
pillar to post back home to evade the long arms of the law, mum has been the
word back in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola

Even while the dust stirred by Shell’s corporate misdemeanor in Nigeria is yet to settle, General
entered the radar few days ago following allegation that it
has chosen to flout an agreement brokered by Nigeria’s Labour Ministry last
year to resolve a dispute with a Nigerian oil service company, Arco.
The scandal blew open last week when
irate workers under the umbrella of PENGASSAN picketed the Lagos office of GE.
Their grouse: they are experiencing untold hardship since they were laid off by
last year without their entitlements being paid. Arco, on the other hand,
says it is unable to meet the workers’ demand because of GE’s refusal to pay up $5m
debt owed it.

The Author Louis Odion FNGE…Critically surprised at the large moral fraud of GE

Arco was earlier engaged by GE to maintain its oil installation
in the Niger Delta. Along the line, GE unilaterally terminated the
contract. All the terms listed were said to have been fulfilled by Arco
to qualify for the pay off.
Thereafter, GE reportedly chose to stall. It was at this point that the Labour
Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige, stepped in to protect not necessarily Arco
but the hundreds of workers laid-off without compensation.

Will Justice play her role in this GE fraud in Nigeria?

Given GE’s international stature, it is really shameful that it can be
involved in this sort of dispute with a local vendor over a little amount.
Even more condemnable is that it
remains intransigent after the intervention of the Labour minister. Well, the
joke is actually on Nigeria. This is
consistent with the growing culture of impunity – whether in the public or the
private sector.
But GE will never try this sort of nonsense back home because it knows
there will be serious consequences.

Nigeria’s Minister of Justice, Mr. Malami


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