The National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, says it has not observed the right investment that is clearly geared towards rescuing the near moribund power sector.
The Union which raised the concern on Wednesday, therefore urged the Federal Government to reverse the privatization of the nation’s power sector, describing new owners of the privatised companies as ‘hustlers’ and ‘hawks’ that have contributed poorly to the power sector.
The Union also accused the new owners of deceiving the Federal Government into paying N2 trillion subvention, insisting that they have continued to impoverish Nigerians, leaving the country pillaged.
They claimed that despite recognizable improvements in the wheeling capacity of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, of 7,000 megawatts, the generation output has now dwindled below 5,000 megawatts.
They pointed at the activities of the new owners as part of reasons why the Power Sector has almost gone comatose and the impoverishment of the average worker in the sector.
The Zonal Organising Secretary (Liaison), Engr. Kolade Ayodele, told journalists that Nigerians should also be worried even as electricity tariffs continue to rise without commiserate service delivery.
According to him: “Since the privatisation of Nigeria’s Power Sector in October 2013, electricity workers under the age of the National Union of Electricity Employees have been in the fore-front of speaking out on behalf of the Nigerian people
“It is an undeniable truth that the Power Sector privatization has not added value to the lives of the ordinary Nigerians. The entire exercise which could be described as a charade has not brought any meaningful impact/improvement of the sector, rather, it has led the Nation to a huge set back.
“The infrastructural development by the New Business Owners in the Power Sector has almost gone comatose while the Socio-Economic status of the average worker in the Sector has continued to decline amidst prevailing harsh economic conditions. The same equipment inherited from Pre-Privatization have remained what drives the Sector as there are no visible attempts by the Generation Companies (GenCos) and Distribution Companies (DisCos) to upgrade and expand their capacities/networks.
“Nigerians were deceived into believing that the ‘Harvestors’ had the Financial/Technical muscles to improve power generation and distribution to Nigerians. Can Nigerians be told today that this purpose has been achieved? The answer was echoed in the print/electronic media by members of the National Assembly who even called for the total reversal of the entire process.
“Despite improvement in the wheeling capacity of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) which is still Federal Government owned to over 7,000MW, the generation output has been dwindling below 5,000MW.
Ayodele continued, “Alas!, the ‘Hustlers’ who deceived the Federal Government into paying almost two trillion naira subvention to the owners of the new companies since privatization; are being used to call the union names in order to exploit Nigerians and sustain the current comatose situation. Their mission is simply to call a dog a bad name in order to hang it while they keep smiling to the banks.
“The same ‘Hawks’ who were gifted the DisCos and GenCos have sharpened their propaganda machinery through these same Hustlers that mid-wived the Privatization of the Power Sector just to distract/hoodwink Nigerians from knowing the real issues.
“Almost nine years of power privatization, the entitlements of some of the workers of the defunct PHCN have not been paid as they suffer untold hardship while some have been sent to early grave due to frustration and lack of fund to attend to health challenges after being forced out of service under the guise of privatization.
“Similarly, the precarious work conditions have imposed hardship on existing employees in the sector as the generation companies have refused to sign Conditions of Service guiding Employer/Employee relations. Lack of workplace democracy, poor remuneration, lack of welfare packages coupled with being denied their fundamental Constitutional rights to belong/join the Union. They have simply become ‘glorified modern day slave camps’.
“Electricity tariff has continued to rise without making prepaid meters available to Nigerians despite the Federal Government’s directive to the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission and the DisCos.
“We are prepared to use our labour and sweat to liberate the sector and the country from the clutches of these “Hustlers’ in the power sector.”