Labour Congress Seals Premises of Jos Electricity Distribution Company Following Hike in Tariff
The Nigeria Labour Congress in Plateau State have sealed up the premises of Jos Electricity Distribution Company following the recent increase on high tariff being imposed on billing to consumers.
The Plateau State Labour Congress made their protest at the premises of the JEDC on Monday during which they stated that, they would engage in mass action, which will cripple activities of the energy sector if DISCOs continues with the high tariff being imposed on electricity consumers.
They called on the Federal Government to beam its anti-corruption searchlight on the Power sector and investigate the activities of DISCOs, which they say are very questionable.
These were the stance when various unions led by Trade Union Congress (TUC), Civil Society Organisation (CSO) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) picketed the Head Office of the Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) in solidarity to the nationwide protest against activities of management of the electricity distribution offices.
While addressing the people at the peaceful protest, the NLC State chairman, Jubril Bancir, said, they had taken the protest to signal DISCOs that they have reneged on the earlier arrangement reached between NLC, TUC, CSO and other trade unions before NEPA was privatised to them.
According to him, “We have taken this step to caution DISCOs that, they have taken a negative stand against Nigerians, and if they don’t revert the stand, they will embark on a mass action that would lead to the closure of their offices nationwide.”
He said, it was agreed during the privatization that no DISCOs will increase its price within 18 months without any consultative meeting with stakeholders. The chairman further lamented on the estimated bills given to customers, adding that, “DISCOs’ staff will not go to read any meter; they will just sit in the comfort of their offices and speculate and send a bill that you cannot afford to pay.”
Speaking also, the Director, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Steve Aluko, described the action of DISCOs as ‘subsidy stealing’ and called on federal government to probe the companies before it leads to public revolt.
He said, “If you go to the rural communities, they don’t even have meters; DISCOs will over-price them and force them to pay. If you visit some parts of Jos, including Rukuba community, people pay to get the wires, people pay for poles, people pay for connections and for meter they have not seen; if it is so, what are you getting the billing for?”
According to him, “We have also discovered that some widows in Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi state have been billed over N404,000, and we feel that if the fight against corruption in Nigeria must be taken seriously, the energy sector must be a critical area that corruption must be fought to a standstill.”
When contacted for comment on the organised Labour’s stance, the Public Relations Officer of JED Plc, Paul Ikwu, said, “What do you want me to say? Tell me what to say in this situation,” he fumed.