09 February 2016, Abakaliki—The South East states chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress, TUC,, described the planned increment in electricity tariff by the National Electricity Regulation Commission, NERC as illegal, unfair and unjustifiable.
This came as members of both unions staged a peaceful protest at different spots at Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC, in Abakaliki, Owerri, Umuahia and Aba.
Addressing newsmen in Abakaliki, the state Chairman of NLC, Comrade Ikechukwu Nwafor who stressed that the Federal Government hadn’t the right to increase electricity tariff considering the economic situation in the country called on the Federal Government to reverse the planned increment.
According to him, “Nigerians are not slaves to anybody and should not be relegated to the background on issues of national interest.” In a statement read by the State TUC Chairman, Chief Elias Uduma, the union condemned the insignificant improvement of service delivery in the power sector.
The statement read in part: “The increment compounds the present economic recession as there is no significant improvement in service delivery. “Due process in the extant law for such increment was not followed in consonance with Section 78 of the power reform.
“Most consumers are not metered in line with the signed Privatisation Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, of November 1, 2013 which stipulates that within 18 months gestation period, all consumers are to be metered.”
No dialogue with IMSG
Owerri, the Imo State branch of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, joined its counterparts in other states of the federation, to call on the Federal Government to reverse the hike in the electricity tariff, even as it warned that labour will not enter into any dialogue with Imo State Government over the sacked workers.
The state NLC Chairman, Comrade Austin Chilakpu, who made the call yesterday, when he led scores of electricity consumers to the Owerri office of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC, also called on Governor Rochas Okorocha to recall the sacked workers unconditionally.
“The current increase in electricity tariff by 43 per cent, would sadly escalate the hardship being experienced by Nigerians,” Chilakpu said.
The Imo NLC boss, however, suggested that pre-paid meters be provided to electricity consumers, instead of forcing them into the present untold hardship. “The organized labour is against the hike on electricity tariff. What we are asking for is for pre-paid meters. The current policy is exploitative and dehumanizing to Nigerian citizens and should be reversed,” Chilakpu said.
The Imo NLC Chairman also used the opportunity, to call on the Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha to rescind his decision to sack over 3,000 workers without due process. Total compliance in Abia Similarly, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Abia State Council yesterday fully complied with the directive of its national leadership to picket offices of Enugu Electric Distribution Company, EEDC.
In Aba, labour locked up the company’s office on Ikot Ekpene road and forced the workers to vacate their offices. Also in Umuahia, labour led by the state Chairman, Comrade Uchenna Obigwe picketed the Umuahia headquarters of the company. Addressing the workers, Obigwe said that Labour was against the increase in tariff because the company did not follow due process.
According to him,” there was an agreement that before any increase in tariff is effected, the company must provide prepaid meters and that of Umuahia, Aba and other parts of the state do not have a single prepaid meter.”