DisCos at loggerheads with Nigerian Army over assaults on workers
Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) under the umbrella body of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) have raised concerns over attacks on their workers, especially by men of the Nigerian Army.
Reacting to an alleged beating of staff of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) in the Gwarinpa area of Abuja, ANED’s Executive Director for Research and Advocacy, Sunday Oduntan said the development remained “unjustifiable” and “cruel”, portending grave danger for the power sector.
He alleged that four staff of the Abuja DisCo were detained and handed over to soldiers for torture by an army officer.
While the military is currently fingered as the worst in terms of revenue payment for electricity, adding to the burden of debt by government agencies, Oduntan said attacks against electricity workers must be stopped immediately.
“The staffs were merely going about their legitimate duties. They had done nothing wrong. They merely went to serve a letter. How that led to soldiers being sent to look for them is beyond us,” Oduntan stated.
Oduntan added that there was no justification for the military to assault anybody going about their lawful duties, especially electricity workers.
“Why in God’s name will you have a grown person flogged for going about his normal, legitimate assignment? This is cruel, inhuman and unjustifiable,” he said in a statement.
He insisted that consumers are obligated to pay for their electricity consumption, adding that being in the military does not exempt anyone from paying their bills.
“The Nigerian Army as an organisation is one of our biggest customers across the country so I can say for a fact that this kind of conduct is not the way the Army relates with our members. I do not know why he will choose to deliberately embarrass the Chief of Army Staff and the entire military like this.
“More than the opprobrium he has attracted to men in uniform generally though is the fact that acts like this insert unjustifiable fear in the minds of hard-working Nigerians trying to earn a living.
“Despite the fact that our power sector has its issues, the daily technical and commercial efforts of these men and women, which ensure that the power sector’s relationship with the end-users is managed in a way that keeps the economy running is very, very significant. This is not the first incident of physical attacks on Disco staff. A considerable number of such attacks happen across the nation every year when our staff go about doing their jobs. Let us not also encourage the inflicting of bodily harm to the challenges they have to endure. We should not and will not keep quiet in the face of it,” Oduntan added.