Kunle Kalejaye 13 October 2015, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The management of Egbin Power Plc and organised labour in the electricity industry are currently at war over usage of the housing estate, staff clinic and schools at the Egbin power plant.
Involved in the disagreement with the management over the facilities are the members of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies SSAEAC, and the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE.
Chairman of Egbin Power Plc, Mr. Dayo Adesina, explained that the recent Amber security alert declared by the management was unavoidable alleging that in light of security reports linking illegal occupants on the facility with plans to disrupt operations and destroy property.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Dallas M. Peavey Jr., also alleged that the illegal residents and their wards as well as certain groups in the community have been linked with plans to disrupt the operations of the power plant. They are also responsible for incidences of rape, robberies and vandalism occurring on the facility.
“The illegal occupants are not documented and this is a huge risk in an enclosed environment. Outcomes from various investigations show that some of the criminal and untoward acts perpetrated in the estate have been traced to individuals linked to some of the former PHCN staff most of whom have either retired or transferred about eight years ago but has refused to vacate the estate after being served quit notices for over two years now,” he said.
“They continue to harass our staff and issue threats of major disruptions to the facility. The situation deserves immediate national attention considering the strategic role Egbin plays in the power sector.
“We therefore appeal to law enforcement agencies to urgently address the situation which may result in sabotage to the plant,” he alleged.
The Egbin CEO added that the housing constraint is taking its toll on the technical personnel and engineers at the plant, who work on shift and on-call duty, explaining that no fewer than 150 members of staff are being denied accommodation by the situation. This development, he added, had led to endless cases of “trauma and impeded productivity” in the company.
But, in a swift reaction, SSAEAC and NUEE condemned what they termed “the wanton destruction of property, inhuman and degrading treatment meted out to its members at the facility”.
Citing a joint statement in 2013, the groups explained that the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, was unbundled into 18 companies with the private investor acquiring about 51 percent equity shares and the remaining 49 percent equity share left to the government and the workers.
Much to the workers’ chargin, the unions said, some investors claimed 100 percent equity shares at the detriment of the government and the workers.
“At the Egbin Power Plant, the management claimed that they have bought staff quarters, staff schools, staff clinic and the rest vacant land measuring about 600 acres.
“It may interest the public to know that these properties are non-core assets that were not sold along with the power plant to Egbin Power Plc. The ownership of this non-core asset, particularly the school reside with the workers who contributed their hard-earned money to establish the school for the betterment of their children.
“In the same vein, the issue of staff quarter is pending in court and until a ruling is given by a court of competent jurisdiction, it is expected that both parties should maintain the status quo,” SSAEAC and NUEE said.
Both unions in the power sector said the management of Egbin on Friday October 2, 2015, ordered the presence of men in black, numbering about 50, in three coaster buses. They arrived the premises with cutlasses, baseball bats and other weapons suspected to be guns, invaded the staff quarters and indiscriminately destroyed the building roofs and the occupants were beaten up mercilessly.
The unions called on the Federal Government to intervene and call the management of Egbin Power Plc to order before the issue degenerates.