Labour Pickets KAEDC, Vows To Continue If There Is No Reduction In Electricity Tariff
Members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have on Monday, stormed and sealed the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KAEDC) over the recent 45 percent hike in electricity tariff by the company nationwide.
The organized labour had last week declared that, all offices of the Nigeria Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and Generation Companies (GENCOs) nationwide would be picketed if government fails to reduce the tariff.
During the picketing in Kaduna Electricity office, it was observed that, the offices were guided by security personnel positioned strategically to forestall any breakdown of law and order.
The protesters arrived very early to the zonal headquarters, as well as its operational offices within the metropolis, requesting all staffs to vacate the office premises to be sealed. They also carried placards with various inscriptions.
According to the Kaduna NLC chairman, Adamu Ango, the action taken by labor was in line with the planned protest against the recent hike in price of electricity tariff across the country.
He said labor will ensure that Nigerians get value for the services they pay for; noting that, members of the labor union in the state are ready to ensure that the protest continues until government responds, while urging members of the public to support the labor action in the interest of a better service delivery to Nigerians.
Former deputy president of the NLC, Issa Aremu, in a remarks said the protest became necessary after all efforts to make the federal government shelve the idea of the increment failed; adding that Nigerians pay more for what is not consumed and the services are yet to be improved upon.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently revisit the report of the 2014 National Conference and implement the holistic recommendations for the power sector, instead of allowing the same unhelpful posting of high tariff by under-performing generating and distribution companies.
Chairman of TUC, Kaduna state chapter, Shehu Mohammed, while making a remark, explained that since the company did not follow what the law says – and they are not above the law, due process must be followed. He maintained that, the union considered the increment as illegal, unfair, unjustifiable and also exploitative of Nigerians, adding that justice must be served.
He further noted that, the Union will not relent in its effort until their demands are met by government.
Meanwhile, a statement by the head of Cooperate Communications Department of the company, Abdulaziz Abdullahi, quoted the Managing Director of KAEDC Garba Haruna, as advising the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress to stop their planned picketing of distribution companies as the nation cannot afford any disruption to power for now, noting that, “the current economic challenges facing the country makes the planned action of the labour movements ill-motivated and counterproductive.”
According to the statement, Garba said, all stakeholders must join hands to consolidate on the success achieved with the privatization of the power sector.
“For the first time in the history of Nigeria’s power sector, electricity generation has hit an all-time high of 5,075MW, demonstrating the evolution and progress in the capacity of the sector to meet the country’s power needs, a major requirement in the drive to grow the nation’s economy and improve quality of life,” he contended.
Garba reiterated that the new tariff regime recently approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission is not only about tariff increment. He said, “It is a comprehensive master plan aimed at having a cost-reflective tariff for the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry. The new tariff will enable the actors in the electricity value chain (generation, transmission and distribution companies) to cover the cost of their operations and attract further investment in the power sector.
“It shall also guarantee sustainable growth in the power sector and ensure stable and qualitative power supply across the country.
This is what Labour said over the increment in electricity tariff: “The due process in the extant laws for such increment was not followed in consonance with section 76 of the Power Sector Reform Act, 2005.
“There has been no significant improvement in service delivery. Moreover, the fact is that most consumers are not metered in accordance with the signed privatization Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of November 1, 2013, which stipulates that within 18 months gestation period, all consumers are to be metered.
“There is a subsisting Court Order dated May 28, 2015, by Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, in the case of Toluwani Yemi-Adebiyi versus NERC & Orthers, that there shall be no further increment until the determination of the substantive suit.
“The increment at this time negates the present biting and prevailing economic recession vis-à-vis an attempt to further impoverish the poor masses.”