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The Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited reaffirmed Tuesday that it will not break the law by dismissing employees.

There were reports that thousands of employees at the newly merged corporation were being laid off, particularly those who were no longer needed.

NNPC spokesperson, Garba Deen Muhammad, told The Guardian last night that provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) insisted that people will not lose their jobs as a result of the law, adding that the new company would not tamper with the law.

He, however, hinted that in a situation where staff opt for early retirement, the company would not delay such move.

“It is not true that we are sacking. If it was true, you would have heard it from Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN). The PIA made it clear that nobody will lose job as a result transition from corporation to NNPC Limited. That is the provision, to do otherwise is to take the law into our hands and NNPC is a law-abiding entity.

“Please ignore it, it is not true. There may be people who are willing to retire early voluntarily. It is their choice,” he said.

Asked if such is currently happening, Muhammad said there has always been such situation, adding that people who want to take their rest are free.

The Guardian had gathered that staff were being offered option of retirement and enticed with juicy severance packages.

After 45 years of its creation, President Muhammadu Buhari had last week unveiled a new NNPC Limited, a development that is generating dissent among stakeholders, especially on issue of redundant staff.

Energy lawyer, Madaki Ameh, said: “I am not optimistic about the unveiling of NNPC as a limited liability company under CAMA 2020 because it is akin to putting new wine in old wineskins.”

Madaki said while the staff remain the same as well as their operational modus, the company, as a consistent loss making organization, may not change.

“I don’t see how the change will catapult NNPC Ltd into a profitable business. It is early days yet, but the optimism has to be a cautious one, so that Nigerians will not be disappointed, again,” he noted.

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