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Shutdown: Expert advises FG, NUEE to reach compromise before expiration of ultimatum

  • Aug 18, 2022
The Sun

An expert in the power sector, Mr Kola Balogun, has advised the Federal Government to reach a compromise with the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) to avert another shutdown of the nation’s power sector.

Balogun, who is the Chairman, Momas Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company (MEMMCOL), gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.

NAN reports that NUEE had on Wednesday grounded activities at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) controlled power stations plunging the nation into darkness.

The union had, however, suspended the strike for two weeks following a meeting with the representatives of the Federal Government to look into their demands.

Balogun noted that allowing the shutdown to happen showed a lack of coherence in terms of communication between the government and the labour union.

He said: “The parties should not have allowed it to aggravate to the extent of shutting down the systems.

“It is a big economic sabotage and it is like taking the country for granted. In any civilised country, that kind of thing will not be allowed to happen.

“It is like a coup against the nation for some people to shutdown the entire power plants.”

Balogun said that the shutdown could have endangered Nigerians who were having life-saving surgeries at hospitals and damaged several expensive machines being used for production by manufacturers.

He added that it also could have caused outage at the nation’s airports which might have put the lives of thousands of air travellers at risk.

He said: “For a nation to allow its power systems to be shutdown is a disaster to the image of that country.

“We have to be serious with issues that have to do with our national development.

“When Labour made its position known to the government that these are their grievances, it is the responsibility of any of the sector’s players or agencies responsible for addressing the demands to call them to order.

“It is their duty to make sure that they reach a compromise. In life generally, people must reach a compromise for them to move forward.

“That is what I expect them to do within the period of this two-week ultimatum. They have to reach a compromise and not take Nigerians for granted.It doesn’t speak well of a country who wants investors to come in.”

NAN reports that NUEE in a notice signed by its General Secretary, Mr Joe Ajaero, had directed its members to stop work effective Aug. 17.

The union had earlier issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Chief Executive Officer of TCN on May 18, threatening to down tools if its complaints were not resolved.

“You are hereby enjoined to mobilise immediately for serious picketing of TCN Headquarters and Stations nationwide over the directive by the TCN Board that all PMs in acting capacity going to AGM must appear for a promotion interview,” the letter said.

“This directive is in contravention of our Conditions of Service and Career Progression Paths and was unilaterally done without the relevant stakeholders input,” the union said.

The union also decried the failure of the authorities to pay the entitlement of former staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in December 2019. (NAN)

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