Electricity Workers Reject Planned Privatisation of Transmission Company
Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan
Electricity workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), have rejected the planned privitisation of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), saying the move would be to protect and defend the profit interest of the business owners against the general interest of the people for affordable and regular electricity.
Recounting its disapproval of the privatisation of the power sector in 2013, the association said its fears had been confirmed by the daily agony and pain being experienced by its members and other Nigerians, as the myriad of problems bedeviling the sector prior to this had worsened.
The union further called on the general public to prevail on the Federal Government to immediately implement the agreement signed with it, saying, that is the only way to forestall a situation where the union would not be forced to reactivate the suspended strike.
The NUEE declared this during a news conference facilitated by the Western Zone at the Zonal Secretariat, Ibadan.
Members of the union said since the privatisation of the power sector in November, 2013, all the expectations that privitisation would add value to the life of the people and bring meaningful impact and improvement to the power sector had been dashed.
Addressing the press in company of other zonal and state officers, the Assistant General Secretary, Western Zone, Comrade Modupeoluwa Akinola said, no amount of intimidation and falsehood, including misrepresentation of facts, could deter the union from expressing its opposition to the privitisation of the power sector in the defense of the interest of the people.
He said: “Our union rejects the planned privitisation of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). We demand a full renationalisation of the power sector under a democratic control of a Board that includes the representatives of workers and consumers.
“It will interest you to know that, prior to the eventual privitisation of the power sector in 2013, our union was at the forefront of several agitations and campaigns which include street protests, town hall meetings, symposia and picketings, organised by mass of Nigerian people to stop and halt the then move for the privitisation exercise,” Akinola disclosed.
He explained that the NUEE had deemed it fit to organise the news conference to make public, the age-long stand of the union on the privitisation of the power sector, its attendant consequences and the basis for an unrelented defense and protection of the members of the union.
Akinola said the purpose of the meeting was also to dispel the excessive misinformation and misrepresentation being peddled around by some individuals and organisations acting at the instance of the new business owners of the power sector whose interest is to present the union in bad light before the general public.
He stated: “The ultimate goal behind the malicious campaign against our union’s leadership is to cripple the union, knowing full well that it is the only formidable platform with capacity left to resist the obnoxious plan by the Federal Government, in connivance with its allies in business, to privatise TCN, the only component in the power sector, supposedly controlled by the government, in order to ensure that their agenda for a full and total privitisation of the power sector is accomplished.”
He warned that the union might resume its suspended strike if the government failed to meet its demand, adding that the government should be blamed for any inconvenience suffered by the members of the public, as may be caused by the strike action.