05 October 2015, Lagos – Electricity generation in the country has dropped by 1,100 megawatts as output from Egbin Power Plant, the biggest generating power station in Nigeria has dropped to zero.
It was gathered that the 1,320 megawatt-capacity plant was generating 1,100 megawatts before the drop in generation.
The development, it was learnt, followed an alleged sabotage by one of the former employees of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria who threw an object into the power plant and it tripped off.
The defunct PHCN workers, on their part, had claimed that the management invited about 100 hoodlums in five buses to sack them from the Egbin Housing estate.
Other occupants of the estate include: staff of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and workers of Egbin Power Plc.
THISDAY gathered that the unidentified persons removed the roofs of the houses occupied by the former employees apparently without the knowledge of the Chairman of the Board of Egbin Power Plc, Mr. Kola Adesina, who was said to be outside the country.
It was learnt that trouble started when these unknown persons allegedly removed the roofs of the houses of some TCN staff and Egbin workers in error and in protest , one of the affected workers allegedly threw an object into the power plant and it tripped off.
THISDAY was also informed by one of the workers last night that the roofs of both the retired workers and serving staff of TCN and Egbin were removed, thus exposing their families and property to heavy downpour.
“The retirees have been living with us and they did not create problems for anybody. They are agitating that the houses should be sold to them because similar houses were sold to former PHCN staff at Ikoyi and Ikeja. But the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) refused to sell the houses and told the retirees that the case of Egbin is different because it is a power station and housing units are tied to power stations. The matter is in court and we have been living peacefully and waiting for the case to be decided. But the Managing Director invited hoodlums on Friday and they removed the roofs of TCN staff and many of us working at Egbin in error,” he explained.
“We gave the houses to TCN staff because they are the ones that evacuate the power we generate. When our roofs were removed in error, everybody got angry because our property and families were under the rain. So, I think someone threw something to the plant and it tripped off,” he added.
He alleged that at the end of the siege, about 12 apartments where the workers of the TCN and some Egbin workers reside were sacked, while the soldiers who were on routine service in the plant allegedly provided them cover.
He blamed the Chief Executive Officer of Egbin Power Plc, Mr. Dallas M. Peavey for poor handling of the crisis.
But the company has denied complicity in the alleged invasion of the estate by thugs
According to him, the drop in generation was caused by a fault that occurred on Friday.
THISDAY gathered that the agitation by the retirees to buy the houses is already in court.
The management in a statement on Sunday said the transformation of the power plant was being threatened by the activities of the illegal occupants of the plant.
The statement added that the management had declared Amber Security Alert on the plant as a proactive step to protect lives and property.
The management also revealed that the illegal occupants who have refused to leave the plant since November 1, 2013 are set to make good their threat to sabotage the plant.
“This unfortunate development portends grave danger that is capable of decimating recent progress in the power sector,” the statement added.
Peavy had in a statement at the weekend, said the continued presence of illegal occupants at the Egbin Power Plc. Housing Estate constitutes a major challenge to ensuring sustained transformation as well as security of lives and property at the plant.
According to Peavey, the illegitimate residents, their wards and certain groups in the community have been linked with plans to disrupt the operations at the plant and perpetuate other misdemeanour such as rapes, robberies and vandalism that are already occurring on the facility.
He explained that no fewer than 150 members of staff are being denied accommodation by the situation, a development he added had led to endless cases of “trauma and impedance of productivity” in the company.
Meanwhile, the General Secretary of Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSEAC), Mr. Dubagari Umar Abubakar, who condemned the action of the management of Egbin Power Plc, said the act of impunity perpetuated by the thugs would be contested in court today, Monday October 5, 2015.
He criticised the BPE for the shoddy privatisation of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
He said the estate in the premises of the Egbin Power Plc was not part of the core assets sold to the new owners by the federal government.
President of SSEAC, Comrade Bede Opara, also expressed reservation over the action of the Egbin Power Plc and implored the gederal government to do its best to stop the impunity demonstrated by the power company.
THISDAY gathered that efforts of the management to pacify the workers have not yielded fruits.
- This Day