U-turn: Wike orders release of detained 22 oil workers

U-turn: Wike orders release of detained 22 oil workers

Sunday, April 19, 2020 12:28 pm


… They were released unconditionally due to intervention of well meaning Nigerians who called for synergy between federal and Rivers state government to fight Covid-19.

Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt

A looming industrial crisis in Nigeria’s oil sector was averted on Sunday as Governor Nyesom Wike ordered the release of 22 Staff of Exxon Mobil who have been in detention in an isolation centre in Port Harcourt for allegedly violating the Executive Order restricting movement in the state as a way of curbing the covid-19 pandemic.

The oil workers have been ‘quarantined’ at Rivers State Isolation Centre in Port Harcourt since they were arrested last Thursday.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) had threatened to cripple the oil sector if the 22 detained workers were not released before the end of today. 

However, the Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice of Rivers State, Professor Zaccheus Adangor, said that the oil workers were released without charges in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Sunday.

According to him, the oil workers were released following interventions by well-meaning Nigerians.

The Attorney-General also said he monitored  the release of the Exxon Mobil workers at the State  Isolation Centre at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt.

The Bus conveying the 22 ExxonMobil Staff when it was  intercepted

He noted that the Rivers State Government remains committed to implementing the Executive Order issued to check the spread of coronavirus.

It will be recalled that security agencies had arrested 22 staff of Exxon Mobil who entered the State from Akwa Ibom in violation of the State Executive Order.

It would be recalled that at a press Conference in Port Harcourt on Friday, Governor Wike had stated that the Exxon Mobil matter will be a test case in legal jurisprudence  in the country.

He said: “Security agencies arrested 22 staff of Exxon Mobil who came into the state from neighbouring Akwa Ibom State in violation of the extant Executive Order restricting movement into the state. We do not know the coronavirus status of these individuals.”

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