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Labour tackles minister over poor power supply

By Victor Ahiuma-Young
LAGOS—ORGANISED Labour in the nation’s Power sector, under the umbrella of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, has faulted perceived buck passing by Minister of Power, Dr. Lanre Babalola over the poor electricity supply in the country and advised the Minister to stop giving untenable excuses for his failures.

The union in a statement said it was surprised that  the Minister was not  remorseful for his inability to deliver the much touted 6,000 Mw as at 31 December, 2009, and argued that it was becoming obvious that the Minister lacked the political will to address the power supply crisis in the country.

In a statement titled “Power Minister strives to make PHCN scape goat”, signed by the General Secretary of NUEE, Comrade Joe Ajaero, read in part: “We are stunned and amazed at the attitude of the Minister of Power, Dr. Lanre Babalola by resorting to media publications on issues he ordinarily would have given directives in-house.

It is quite sordid and unheard of for the Minister to urge PHCN to check gas supply crisis when the onus lies on him to effectively dialogue and resolve this issue at the inter ministerial level between him and Petroleum Minister.

And thereafter give directives on implementation of agreements.  The members of staff of PHCN and the National Union of Electricity Employees feel greatly embarrassed at the buck passing attitude of the Minister who should be remorseful for his inability to deliver the much touted 6,000 megawatts as at 31, December, 2009.

It is unfortunate that the Minister who ought to have been better informed of Gas availability and affordability in PHCN through his constant link with his counterpart Rilwanu Lukman – the Petroleum Minister appears to be blank.”

“More worrisome is the fact that this is happening at a time the Acting President is vigorously beating his brains on how to amass the arsenal of tackling the Power crisis head-on.

For emphasis, the staff of PHCN and Nigerians are tired of flimsy excuses for the inability of providing power for the comfort and socio-economic growth of the nation. We cannot continue to groan under these circumstances when enough political and economic energy should have been summoned to see us through this electric power doldrums.

Apart from the Gas crisis bedeviling us, the Union had suggested for alternative source of power generation which the Authorities have continuously ignored. PHCN should not be made a scape goat when policies, action or inaction of the authorities are not circumspect and therefore always incoherent.

It should be borne in mind that PHCN holds very highly qualified and hard working staff that can cope with the power challenges if the Authorities are willing to provide the template. The Minister should not abdicate his responsibilities.”


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