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Strike Looming: NUEE

WORKERS of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), on Wednesday, threatened to shut down power supply.

The workers have been on strike since Tuesday over an alleged plan by the Federal Government to deregulate the sector and the takeover of their offices by soldiers.

Meanwhile, leadership of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) and  NUEE were, on Wednesday, summoned to Abuja by the State Security Service (SSS) over the work to rule order declared on Tuesday over the failure of the Federal Government to withdraw soldiers it sent to all strategic Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) installations in the country to forcibly deregulate the sector.

The electricity workers’ position on the power sector was that the PHCN could be efficient if it was democratically run with the involvement of elected representatives of workers and consumers in the management of electricity.

Speaking to newsmen on the invitation by the SSS to Abuja, SSAEAC’s president, Comrade Bede Opara, said “we were in Abuja to meet with the SSS over the crisis in the power sector.

“We have made it clear to the government that all agreements reached with the workers must be fulfilled and due process must be followed in any decision to be taken in the sector.”

He, however, said “workers in the electricity sector demanded that the soldiers sent on Monday morning to occupy the corporate headquarters of the PHCN in Wuse Zone 4 and Apo Transmission Stations in Abuja; the Olorunsogo centre, Ondo State; Ayede; the Egbin Power Station, the National Control Centre, Osogbo and the Osogbo work centre by the government should be withdrawn with immediate effect.”

Also, the General Secretary of NUEE, Comrade Joe Ajaero, said “the militarisation of the electricity installations in the country by the government is an obvious attempt to force the deregulation of the PHCN without following due process.

“The action taken by government did not come to us as a surprise, because the soldiers  sent to occupy electricity installations is a calculated attempt to stall the negotiations and impose a pre-determined solution that will see the power sector sold as scrap to serving ministers and other cronies of the Federal Government.”

In another development, the Joint Action Front (JAF) has given its full support to the work to rule action embarked upon by electricity workers in the country, insisting that Federal Government and the management of the PHCN should withdraw all military personnel and respect the agreements reached with the unions.

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