Electricity workers complain of attacks by Nigerians
Electricity workers have raised an alarm over the level at which their members are beaten up and mobbed on daily basis by Nigerians to provide them pre-paid meters. The workers under the aegis of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), who said it is not their duty to provide meters, noted that the power sector was privatised without metering.
General Secretary of NUEE, Joe Ajaero, who said this at the union’s 6th Quadrennial/11th National Delegates Conference, said they have raised the issue many times but those concerned have not acted. According to him, the need to critically resolve issues and chart path in the power is pertinent. Ajaero warned of imminent collapse in the power sector if there is no construction of power plant that would come into the grid in the next four years.
To avert the collapse, he said there is a need for a review, noting that Nigeria’s power sector reform was more of a cliche and context for grand corruption; as this has gone unchecked for two decades.
“It is apparent that there is an orchestrated conspiracy in the circles of government that the power sector should not be made to work. This is because it benefits a few people if the sector remains in crisis, and as such justifying more taxpayers’ money being frittered away by key players in the sector.
“The reform is not driven or guided by a patriotic motive, but by selfishness and greed. The major myth is that the Nigerian public is made to believe that NEPA/PHCN is unable to work efficiently because of the incompetence and corruption of its staff. “The benchmarks and principles that supports our position is that the reform should serve the interest of many and not a few greedy people, who benefit from the crisis in the sector.
A few people whose interests are not in the reforming of the sector to make it more efficient but simply a context for conversion of public resources into private pockets,” he said. He added that the process of privatisation is characterised by abuse of due process, retrenchment of workers, asset stripping, and general insecurity. The President of NUEE, Martin Uzoegwu, in his address listed the challenges that led to the union shutting down electricity supply nationwide.
According to him, “while we remain committed towards ensuring that the hopes and aspirations of our members are not eluded, we encourage all stakeholders/players in the sector and the nation towards salvaging what is left.” Earlier, the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, who was represented by the ministry’s Controller, Lagos, Nnamdi Enuah, recalled the mandate of the ministry, which is the maintenance of industrial peace and harmony in the sector. He said the Ministry was on top of its game at the individual, corporate and national levels, to ensure there was minimal disruption at the workplaces.