By TONY EDIKE
ENUGU — THE National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, yesterday, gave the Federal Government seven days to resolve the strike embarked upon by Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, or face a total shut down of electricity facilities in the country.
The union said that it could no longer sit back and watch those in positions of authority destroy the future of young Nigerians who have remained at home for weeks on account of the Federal Government’s refusal to meet the legitimate demands by ASUU.
General Secretary of NUEE, Mr Joe Ajaero, who spoke at a training workshop for labour leaders in the power sector in Enugu, said that electricity workers across the country would be directed to join other progressive labour unions “to shut down the country” as a way of expressing anger over the lingering face-off between the Federal Government and the academic staff.
He said: “We can no longer sit back and watch this disturbing drama going on between the Federal government and ASUU. If the strike is not addressed within the next one week, NUEE and other progressive unions, will shut down the country.
“It is unfortunate that those in power are not bothered about the closure of the universities. They are less concerned because none of their children are studying in Nigerian universities.
“Their children are overseas just as they travel overseas for medical attention because they have allowed our hospitals to die. Whether our children are out of school or not they are not bothered but we are going to join our children to stay at home from next week.”
Ajaero called on the National Assembly to make a legislation banning public office holders from sending their children to study abroad just as overseas medical trips by public officers should be outlawed to enable government address the numerous problems weighing the nation down.
“Our public institutions are dead because those unpatriotic leaders have nothing to do with them but when they are banned from traveling overseas to access improved facilities, they will have no option than to look inward and address our numerous challenges,” he added.
According to the NUEE General Secretary, the payment of their members’ entitlements had remained slow explaining that the government’s promise to conclude the payment before weekend might not be feasible as majority of the workers were yet to be settled.
He urged the Federal Government to stop playing politics with electricity workers’ entitlements, Ajaero reiterated the union’s resolve not to allow the new investors access to the power stations until all the workers were fully settled.
He, however, expressed regrets that some of the workers who had received their entitlements were already living in luxury by buying expensive cars and traveling overseas instead of investing the funds on rewarding ventures.
Ajaero stated that the training workshop for the union leaders was intended to enlighten them on the need to encourage their members to engage in investments that would be beneficial to them and members of their family after disengaging from service.