Electricity workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) on Monday expressed worry over what they described as the “public display of ignorance” of the issues and challenges in the power industry by the newly appointed Minister of Power, Adelabu Adebayo.
In a statement in Abuja signed by the Acting General Secretary of the Union, Dominic Igwebike, the workers said since his assumption of office last month, the Minister has not deemed it necessary to reach out to critical stakeholders in the power sector.
The union said such meeting with stakeholders would have engendered effective collaboration, optimizing productivity and increasing power output and impeccable industrial relations atmosphere required to achieve them.
“Rather, he has embarked on a Media frenzy to misinform Nigerians and openly threaten workers in the Sector,” the workers said.
Although the power sector did not experience any system collapse in over 400 days, the Union said it was more due to its industrious and hard-working members that make up the Workforce than anything else.
The workers urged the Minister to be guided to the effect that the Power Sector did not experience any System collapse during the two-day warning strike declared across the nation by their affiliate, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
“He (the Minister) should be educated to the effect that he cannot decree Strike out of existence. But the Minister has decided to play to the gallery; like some of his predecessors, by promising thousands of megawatts without any Roadmap to achieving them. You cannot build something on anything.
“In order to achieve impeccable improvements and rejuvenate the Power Sector, it is expedient that the Federal Government puts round pegs in round holes and not appointees whose qualifications are political considerations,” the workers said.
They identified the issues the Minister should be concerned with, including outstanding issues concerning the refusal to issue prepaid meters to Nigerians who were compelled to pay imposed crazy bills.
The other issue the workers wanted the Minister to look into was the nation having less than 4,500 megawatts (MW) output of electricity, and most Generation Companies (GenCos) led by Egbin Power Plc have flagrantly disobeyed all extant Labour laws since taking over
in November 2013, including the non-payment of 16 months of arrears arising from severance.
“Should the Honourable Minister fail to address these issues within two weeks, he should preoccupy himself with recruiting NSA Officials to run the Sector. We wish him luck!” the workers said.