19 June 2013, Lagos – Labour unions in the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, have cautioned the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, on pronouncements with regard to payment of severance package to electricity workers in the country following the unbundling of the PHCN.
The unions observed consistent publicity of the payment by government through the minister and advised government to cease further public comment on the issue as similar event in the past has put the workers in danger.
Chairman, Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, Eko Electricity Distribution Company chapter, Mr Segun Afolorunso, who raised the security concern at a parley with the power minister in Lagos said there had been instances where PHCN workers were waylaid by robbers while others received kidnap threat over similar payments.
At the meeting, the minister had advised PHCN workers to invest their severance package wisely when paid.
Nebo told the workers: “I want to urge all of you to ensure that when the severance package is paid into your account, you should plan on it and spend it wisely.
“The money should be spent meticulous and avoid unnecessary flamboyant spending that will attract robbers and wastages,” he said.
The minister, however, assured workers that their package would be paid as agreed and directly into their account in batches.
He urged them to invest the money in their children’s education so that it would not look as if their children did not benefit from their suffering and hard labour.
Afolorunso while reacting to the minister’s comment implored the government not to make further pronouncements on the issue because hoodlums could use the avenue to start attacking the disengaged PHCN workers.
Afolorunso said that during the previous announcement in the newspapers, some of their members were attacked by hoodlums.
“Some of our staff members were kidnapped by gunmen in Anambra State because of the money they were yet to collect.
“Also, the bus that conveyed our members to Sapele in Delta State was attacked by robbers who demanded their own share of the money. “The robbers collected the workers’ ATM cards. They told the workers that the aim was to enable them collect their own share of the money when the workers are paid.