22 October 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – NIGERIA’s electricity workers have described the recent sale of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, generation and distribution companies as “daylight robbery”, threatening showdown with the government over the matter and other unresolved issues concerning the process of the sale of the companies.
The workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, vowed at the weekend to halt further negotiations with the government over their desengagement package alleging that the bidding process, undertaken by the Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, leading to the sale of the companies, was flawed.
They decried the sale of the companies at “give-away prices” and their being sidelined in the bidding and entire privatiation process despite an earlier agreement to that effect between the union and the government.
Mr. Joe Ajaero, general secretay of the union, said: “We want to tell Nigerians that PHCN makes N300 billion every year and they have sold it finally for N200 billion. I weep for this economy, management or administration as the case may be. It shows that there is something wrong and that which is wrong, we must dig it and find it out.
“As for the distribution companies they are selling, the land which these offices occupy is almost worth N1tn. This is excluding the structures or buildings on the land. So, this is daylight fraud.”
Ajaero continued: “The bidding process has opened another wound that must be healed before we settle the matter in the power sector. The unresolved labour issues are issues that do not require negotiations any longer.
“They don’t require negotiations because our entitlement is our entitlement and it must be paid. Whether you are now dashing the companies to your friends, you have to look for our money and pay us.
“We are ready for them this time around since they have decided not to carry the unions along because part of the agreement made by the unions and the Hassan Sunmonu-led negotiation team was that any time the evaluation of PHCN is to be carried out, the unions will be involved.”