President Muhammadu Buhari.
By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos – The federal government has been asked to revisit and reverse the privatization of the power sector as the exercise has not brought any meaningful impact or improvement in the sector.
This was the view of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE which described the process as a charade that has led the nation to a huge setback.
The North East zonal chapter of NUEE while briefing journalists in Jos on Monday, expressed worry that there has been no infrastructural development in the sector since its privatization even as the personnel have become “modern-day slaves.”
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues who included the Vice President (North East), Comrade Ojochide Agbata; the Senior Zonal Organizing Secretary, (North East), Sikamta Mshelinga said “Since the privatization of Nigeria’s power sector in October 2013, the exercise has not added value to the lives of Nigerians. The entire exercise could be described as a charade…
“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 pre-privatization has remained what drives the sector. There are no visible attempts by the Generation Companies, GenCos and Distribution Companies, or DisCos to upgrade and expand their capacities/networks.
“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.”
Mshelinga added, “The hustlers who deceived the federal government into paying almost N2trn subvention to the owners of the new companies since privatization are being used to call the Union names to exploit Nigerians and sustain the current comatose situation…
“Almost nine years of power privatization the entitlements of some of the workers of the defunct PHCN have not been paid, they suffer untold hardship after being forced out of service under the guise of privatization…
“Electricity tariff has continued to rise without making prepared meters available to Nigerians despite the federal government’s directive to the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC and the DisCos.”
The unionists maintained they are prepared to use their labour and sweat to “liberate the sector and the country from the clutches of these ‘hustlers’” as “the Union is the only voice currently crying in the wilderness and cannot be cowed because we are no longer in the era of the master-servant relationship.”
They further stressed, “This struggle must continue, any threat on the leadership of the Union is a threat to workers in the power sector, the Nigerian workers and Nigerians in general.”