– threatens legal action
Port Harcourt — The Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC has petitioned the Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ahmed Abubakar Audi, over alleged attack, brutalization and unlawful detention of customers and staff of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company by operatives of the Corps.
SSAEAC said operatives of Corps stormed a PHED injection substation in Rumuola and violently attack and brutalized both staff and customers, including a pregnant woman with whips, and destroyed properties worth millions of Naira, over alleged disconnection of power supply to the NSCDC office in Port Harcourt.
Deputy Secretary General of SSAEAC, South South and South East, Comrade Innocent Lord-Douglas, who condemned the incident describing it as barbaric, also accused operatives of the NSCDC of carting away phones, cash and valuables of their victims and whisking away some of them to their office for illegal detention.
Lord-Douglas who threaten a legal action against NSCDC over the matter, said the Corps must pay their electricity bills as well as pay for the medical treatment of victims who sustained bodily injuries as well as sign an undertaking to forestall future occurrence.
“We write this letter for ourselves as a Union and on behalf of our members, Staff and customers of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company PLC (PHED) and state succinctly as follows:
“That PHED is a company registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act, entitled to the rights, protection and privileges under the Act and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and to carry on its lawful and legitimate business of distributing electricity in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Cross Rivers States within the existing laws.
“That on Monday 20th day of March 2023 in the early hours of that day, while the staff of PHED attached to Rumuola Injection Substation were busy attending to customers and carrying out their lawful duty, officers of the NSCDC from Rivers State Command stormed the business premises of PHEDC, Rumuola Injection Substation with two Toyota Hilux Vehicles in a commando style, armed to the teeth, sporadically shot in the air, forcefully opened the gate and started brutalizing, beating molesting and hitting every customer and staff( including pregnant women) with their guns and whips. Attached herewith are copies of the photographs showing the extent of the brutality.
“That while the Men and Officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) from Olu Obasanjo displayed these barbaric acts, they also squeezed the staff and customers, collected their mobile phones, wallets and other personal belongings.
“That after being satisfied with their brutalization, they faced the facilities of PHEDC, Rumuola Injection Substation, destroyed most of the facilities and whisked away detained some of the staff in their office at Olu Obasanjo Road.
“That while they were carrying out these nefarious acts, they were shouting, ‘why did you people disconnect our office?’ They did not give room for explanation from the staff, neither did they dialogue or go into negotiation with the staff.
“It is disheartening to say that, despite the efforts of the officials of the PHEDC Security Department to peacefully quell the situation and secure the release of the staff battered and injured staff arrested by the Men and Officers of NSCDC)
on the spot, they refused and took them away to their office at Olu Obasanjo Road.
“More pathetic is the fact that PHEDC did not disconnect their office as alleged, rather the network linking or serving the Command’s line was faulty and undergoing maintenance a day or two before this dastardly act took place.
“We state categorically clear that, as a result of this violent attack on the staff and customers of PHEDC Rumuola Injection Substation, destroying most of the facilities in the premises, PHEDC has lost millions of naira as business was shot down, customers and staff running for their dear lives.
“That to put the record straight, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) is by law required to act within the confines of the law establishing it and not to take laws into their hands by resulting to self-help, which the law frowns at.
“We state that NSCDC +must pay its electricity bills that have run into millions of Naira before reconnecting them. Not only that they will pay the electricity bills, we will also proceed to a court of competent jurisdiction to seek redress for the breach of fundamental rights of the staff and claim damages for the destroyed facilities.
This action carried out by the NSCDC has placed our members and staff at risk of losing their jobs due to the inability to meet set target in same feeder.”
SSAEAC further urged the NSCDC boss to call the Rivers State Commandant of the Corps to order, accusing him of going frolic and not maintaining the tenets, mission and vision of the Corps.
“To order for thorough investigation of this incident vital and arraign anyone if indicted by Police investigation before a competent court; and call upon the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps in Port Harcourt.
“To pay its electricity bills that have run into millions of naira. To pay incurred hospital treatment bills and lost items to the victims. To write an undertaking that such detestably act will repeat itself.”
Follow us on twitter