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Unions threaten to shut down power sector if Babalola is re-appointed

By Victor Ahiuma-Young

LAGOS — UMBRELLA body for junior and senior staff in the nation’s electricity sector, National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, and its Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied companies, SSAEAC, counterpart,  have directed workers in the sector to shut down the industry any day sacked Minister of Power, Mr. Lanre Babalola, is recalled to head the sector.

Leaders of the two unions alleged that they were aware that the Minister was among  ministers in the dissolved Federal Executive Council, FEC, lobbying to return, arguing that stakeholders were relieved when they got the news of the dissolution of FEC and called on members to immediately begin fasting and prayers to frustrate the Minister’s re-appointment.

But the former Minister said he was committed to doggedly follow the government power sector blueprint and workers’ welfare, saying the fear of lay-offs by labour was unfounded.

In a joint circular by the two unions entitled: “Shut down if Lanre Babalola is re-appointed, the unions said: “Upon his removal on March 17, 2010, stakeholders heaved a sign of relief. Till date, he has refused to apologised to Nigerians for his failure to actualised the 6000MW target.

“Dr. Lanre Babalola cannot fix the power sector. Qualified and capable hands with courage to address the problems abound in country.

“Consequently, all members respective of their job functions are hereby directed to shut down the system and stay away from office, if for any reason Dr. Lanre Babalola is re-appointed as Power Minister. We should be battle ready to carry our destiny in our hands.”

“All members of staff of PHCN have been directed to observe a fasting and prayers session on Tuesday March 23, 2010, from 8.00am to noon to seek the face of God on the recent challenges in the power sector.

Babalola reacts
Reacting to the labour’s threat, the former Minister reiterated his commitment to power sector reforms as envisaged in the government blueprint and workers’ welfare.

In a statement by Mr. Yakubu Lawal, Special Assistant on Media to former Minister of Power, Mr Babalola said: “Based on government blueprint to re-position the Power sector reform of the sector is key to genuine development involving the private sector players that can bring the  kind of capital or investment needed for  revamp the industry.”


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