Electricity Workers Threaten Strike Over Plans To Sell Transmission Station

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    *threatens to shut down national grid

    By; KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna

    The National Union Of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has threatened to shut down the national grid if the federal government goes ahead with its plan to sell the transmission stations.

    It argued that despite the federal government’s decision to sell the distribution company to private investors and the huge money sunk into it, there has been nothing to show for it.

    The spokesman of the union, Zonal Organizing Head Secretariat, Northwest Zone, Comrade Dukat Ayuba stated this while addressing the media at its transmission office in Kaduna, shortly after their North West Zone meeting.

    According to him, the union has found it necessary to let the public and Nigerians be aware of the ongoing crisis in the power sector.

    That as a union, it is their responsibility to advise the government on issues germane to the growth of the sector.

    Similar move he said, was made by the union when it advised the federal government against privatizing the distribution company, but all advise fell on deaf ears and the result is what has manifested today.

    “We are here to discuss burning issues going on in the power sector.
    We want to tell Nigerians that the sale of the sector will be of no good to them.
    Despite 9yrs of privitization, nothing has changed.

    The same condition that existed before privatization still remains No positive change.
    We want to make the world know.
    We championed the rejection of the sale of power sector. Reasons being that we observed that the investors that were coming on board do not have the technical know- how, financial muscles and capacity to take over the sector. We are insiders, we know the burning issues on going in the sector.

    Lamenting further, he said.

    “Despite the fact that the investors never brought any change, the tariff has increased.
    I want Nigerians to know that the old 5000 mega Watts that we had before is still what we have today. The network we had before is still what we have today. These investors have not put one single addition.

    “The condition of service have remained the same. No adequate tools to work. Our transformers are obsolete. To crown it all, the 16 months arrears of disengaged workers entitlement totalling N55,000 owed is yet to be paid. Not only has this cause untold suffering on them. Some have died awaiting the payment.” He stressed.

    The union is urging the federal government to expidiate action and do the needful for the growth of the sector.

    The union noted that customers expectations are high and therefore the need to improve the present condition of the sector.
    “We were taken aback by the news of the sale.
    We are much on ground. We will not be intimidated. Some people use the privitization law to suit their personal interest. ”
    The union while observing that some top officials flout the condition of service to suit their person interest, it has raised eyebrows on the role played by some individuals in bringing them down

    ” The likes of Eyo Ekpo, the personal adviser to the governor, who is always found of going to the media, places calling for the prosecuting of the union officials”.

    Speaking, Member Central Executive Committee Comrade Wisdom Nwanchukwu, described the issue of privitization as issue of national interest, saying, no country all over the world have privitised their transmission company.

    “That was how it all started when they sold the distribution company. We cried like this to all Nigerians. But some Nigerians were saying we are lazy people we don’t want privitization but at the end of the day, when the government was bent on selling it, we said okay pay the staff their entitlements and go ahead with your privitization. Today NUEE is a hero. imagine 9yrs after privitization, you cannot see any significant achievement and the main reason behind it is because we have not done the needful.

    He said because the investors who bought it do not have all it takes to run the company, the government takes it upon itself to fund it.
    “It is Nigerian government that still sponsor these companies with our own money and yet we have not achieved anything. Here we are again, the next target is NTCN.”

    Also speaking, the Vice President, National Union of Electricity, Northwest Zone, Comrade Ado Gaya called for Nigerians support and understanding in making the sector great.

    He urged the government to do the needful saying, the situation has deteriorated to the extend that customers sometimes would have to contribute money to buy wire to get their repairs done. It does not augur well for the sector. He stated.

    It will be recalled that some time back the nation was plunged into darkness. To avoid a repeat of same episode, the union demands that the government be proactive and find lasting solutions to pending issues on ground. One of such being the settlement of 16months arrears of disengaged workers entitlements.

    Two weeks ultimatum given already it said has expired.

    ,”We are still waiting to see their reaction. If they fail, you can observe two weeks have elapsed but we are still watching. Any moment if they remain quiet, we will also wake them up so that they will do the needful.” The union warned.

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