29 October 2015, Lagos – Workers in the nation’s Power Sector, have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, asking him to stop the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, and others from liquidating the remaining assets of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, without addressing pending labour issues.
In a petition detailing happenings in the sector from 2011 till date, the workers warned of unprecedented industrial unrest in the power sector should the president fail to intervene and address workers’ concerns.
The petition by the General Secretary, National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, claimed that over 50,000 former employees of defunct PHCN were still being owed, while over 5,000 employees of PHCN had not received any entitlement at all, lamenting that labour’s agreement with Federal Government that PHCN should not be liquidated until all labour issues were concluded, was being flagrantly violated.
The petition contended that contrary to claims, over 20 cases were pending, including Suit No. NICN/AK/44/2015: between Ilesanmmi Moses & three others (suing for themselves and on behalf of the disengaged staff of PHCN in BEDC) and PHCN and three others filed at National Industrial Court, Akure Judicial Division on October 7, 2015.
The petition read in part: “BPE has refused to release needed fund to the Implementation Committee headed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Ambassador Godknows Ighali, for conclusion of verifications and payment of staff entitlements, but allegedly paid another government agency, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, N500 million as consultancy fee for the same purpose. While PHCN workers are suffering, two years after they were disengaged, BPE should tell Nigerians where they have allegedly fixed the over N50 billion meant for the payment of entitlements of ex-PHCN employees.
“BPE should tell Nigerians where the documents of PHCN property in the United Kingdom are kept.
“The hurry to liquidate is to frustrate the power sector probe instituted by the Senate, and close shop before the appointment of a substantive Minister.”
“The 10% equity shareholding in a privatized PHCN, due to workers as contained in the Privatization Act, is yet to be allotted. Substantial numbers of staff are yet to receive the pension components of their entitlements. There cases of workers who have been verified but not yet paid their severance benefits, cases of workers who statutorily retired from service but yet to be paid their respective gratuity and cases of staff who are yet to be issued severance pay advice. For example, over 60 of them in Kainji Generation, 51 in Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company etc. There are cases of death benefits due to be paid to dependents of staff who died in active service, refusal to embark upon pre and post retirement trainings for PHCN workers and N2billion meant for this purpose yet to be declared.”