July 5, 2021

Electricity workers issue strike notice to FG over planned sale of TCN


*List national security, others as dangers of TCN privatisation

*NLC backs workers, declares ‘Operation Save TCN from enemies’

By Victor Ahiuma-Young

Workers in the nation’s power sector, on the platform of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, have served the Federal Government a notice of industrial unrest over planned sale of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, warning of its threat to national security, among others dangers.

Already, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, which had earlier rejected the plan to sell the TUC, declared “Operation Save TCN from the Enemies of Nigeria” and full support for the workers’ action.

NLC, through its President, Ayuba Wabba, called on the National Assembly and other well-meaning Nigerians to join forces with Labour and stop any attempt to sell TCN to private individuals to the detriment of the Nigerians.

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Meanwhile, NUEE in a statement on Monday by its General Secretary, Joe Ajaero, argued that “leaving the nation’s full power architecture in the hands of private business owners, who lack the expertise to own and run critical economic assets, poses serious security risk to the nation, as we will be driven by the wimps and caprices of the ‘harvestors’.”

Ajaero contended that the enemies of Nigeria had once deceived the country to grant about N1.5 trillion to the same private individuals the government sold its distribution and generation facilities to, at a ridiculous rate of not more than N400 billion.

He lamented that almost eight years after the privatisation of the power sector, there had not been any visible improvement in terms of power supply, expansion or investments by the new owners of the DisCos and GenCos.

The NUEE General Secretary fingered “Three key officers working with a few vested interest in the Ministry of Power, who do not understand the concept in power generation, transmission and distribution, to carry out their selfish personal privatisation agenda and milk the nation off it’s vital economic assets.”

According to him: “Why would the Federal Government want to privatise TCN with the improvement made in terms of expansion and strengthened transmission network?

“The five-yearly performance appraisal process provided for in the Electric Power Sector Reforms, EPSR, Act, 2005, has been jettisoned despite calls by Nigerians to review the performances of the sector players.

“A dime has never been declared as profit for government’s 40% asset ownership in the privatised companies till date, yet it remains a pitiable tale of ‘private gain, public disaster’.

“We had alerted the Federal Government and Nigerians against going into a fraudulent/fictitious agreement with SIEMENS towards improving transmission capacity to a level which the existing nation’s transmission capacity had surpassed.

“It will be recalled that in December 2019, the Union embarked on an industrial action over non-implementation of agreements reached with the Federal Government over the 2013 privatisation and other salient issues bedevilling the power sector.

“Despite the intervention of the leadership of the National Assembly and the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Power in its deep slumber is still busy pursuing rats when its house is on fire.

“This statement serves as notice to Nigerians that the Union will resume its suspended industrial action for the non-implementation of the agreements.

“Besides, the plan to further enslave Nigerians based on hemlock prescriptions of the IMF, World Bank and Britton Wood institutions will meet the resistance of the masses and workers of Nigeria, who lost their jobs in thousands, some without pay and Nigerians who have been paying for darkness with the over 400 percent tariff increase for services not rendered.

“With the non-implementation of the agreements reached with Labour eight years after, worsening power supply situation, exploitative tariff imposition on toiling people of Nigeria, and projected 200 percent increase in tariff in the first year of TCN privatisation, the struggle will be between the oppressors and the oppressed.”

Vanguard News Nigeria