Organised Labour in Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to scrap and reverse the electricity privatisation exercise in the country.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, President, of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), made the call during the 2022 International Workers’ Day celebration on Sunday in Abuja.
Celebrating under the theme “Labour, Politics and the Quest for Good Governance and Development in Nigeria’’, the event was jointly organised by the NLC and the Trade Union Congress(TUC).
He called on the federal government to take advantage of the five-year review window provided in the Electricity Sector Privatization Reform Act, already overdue.
According to him, “the challenges in our electricity sub-sector persist despite the acclaimed goodness that the power sector privatisation programme promised.
“In spite of humungous bailout support funds fleeced from public coffers to the so-called private investors who bought our electricity assets dirt cheap, our power generation and distribution blues keep getting worse.
“The truth is: we have been badly scammed,’’ he said.
The NLC president, therefore, demanded a transparent investigation into the power sector privatisation programme.
“We believe this was hijacked by a few entitled Nigerians to corner the commonwealth without thought for value addition,’’ he said.
Wabba also condemned the continued strive by some people in the corridors of power to concession the airports.
He noted that from the Transaction Adviser’s report, there is clearly no justifiable reason for the government to hand over airports built with public funds to private investors whose sole objective is profit maximisation at public pain.
“Our experience with such moves is that the first thing the concessionaires do is to casualise labour and perpetrate all manner of decent work deficits.
“Private investors who believe that there is a gold mine in running airports should build their own airports and recoup their investments afterwards.
“They should stay off profitable airports built at public expense,” he said.
Also, on the deregulation of the downstream petroleum, Wabba noted that the only sustainable solution to this is the rehabilitation and optimisation of the local oil refineries and the building of new ones.
According to him, it is sad that Nigeria is the only OPEC country that cannot refine its crude oil.
“It is a shame that we are running helter-skelter looking for diesel which is one of the easiest crude oil derivatives to produce, especially using Modular Refineries.
“As if the chaos in our downstream petroleum subsector is not enough, there is a ticking time bomb in our upstream petroleum sub-sector–oil theft,’’ he said.
He, therefore, called for the organisation of artisanal refineries and their regulation of them.