Our Correspondent|27 April 2017
The shady business of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) in Cross River was on Tuesday brought to the open streets as staking revelations point to the fact that the electricity distribution company since inception has been robbing the state of the 300 megawatt of power it generates and given to sister states living the state with only 20MW to subsist on NegroidHaven can report.
The 300MW of electricity, according to the revelation is churned out from the power plant located at Odukpani of Cross River State, where the worst power situation is being suffered daily. Power supply as witnessed in Calabar, Cross River’s capital city is often either rationed or some parts of the city left in complete darkness for untold days. In addition, it was disclosed that the electricity generating company since it took possession of distributing power in Nigeria it has been boarding on the old system it inherited with no equipment overhaul made the reason epileptic power supply continues to trail the state despite efforts by government to reverse the trend.The shocking revelation was made by the Cross River State chairman of the union, Comrade Lawrence Chinedu during the ongoing protest in Calabar by employees of the company under the egis of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) that have lasted for two days now.'Odukpani Power is generating over 300 megawatts of power, but Calabar is taking only 20.''What we are generating is taken to other states because of the company (i.e. PHED) refusal to do minor overhaul,' Chinedu disclosed further.'As a union, we have always argued that there is enough power to be evacuated but they have refused to evacuate this power,' added Comrade Steve Ezenwa, NUEE’s national secretary.'This company is not interested in what the masses are going through but interested in making money,' Comrade Alexander Omotayo, Cross River NUEE’s organizing secretary said, on his part.As at the time of fielding this report no representative of PHED could be contacted as activities in their office were grounded following workers protest. Electricity employees down tools, ground activities in C’RiverActivities at the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) in Calabar have been grounded for over four days now following protests by employees of the company under the egis of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE).The picketing by NUEE at PHED main branch in Calabar has been ongoing for over four days now, among other things PHED refusal to allow their employees to form themselves into a union, an issue that had been trashed out by both arbitration panel in favour of the union, which later the Nigerian Industrial court upheld, but the electricity distribution company had failed to comply.Siege of the electricity power distribution company’s entrance sealing of the gate with a padlock, trunk of plantains and tree branches are some of the actions carried out by the union to drive home their demands.They also chant solidarity songs raising banners with inscriptions carrying ‘picketing in action’ ‘no to: arbitrary sack of Nigerian workers; refusal to give out energy meters; lack of job security; rejection of loads; crazy billing.’ The workers, also as their topmost priority want the electricity distribution company to confirm the employment of its workers, who have been held as casual staff for more than two years an issue the union fears does not guarantee job security to its members.Speaking with newsmen, the national secretary of NUEE, Comrade Steve Ezenwa said similar picketing was going on simultaneously in all the states PHED covers including Cross River, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom.Adding that the picketing was to continue until the company complies with labour laws.On his part, the Cross River State chairman of the union, Comrade Lawrence Chinedu decried that workers were being treated anyhow and were being refused the right to associate with union activities.While the state organizing secretary of the union, Comrade Alexander Omotayo accused PHED of being complacent on the plight of the masses it services and only being interested in 'making money.'
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