Electricity Workers Call Off strike After Signing MOU With Government Officers

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Power restoration in FCT, Niger, Kaduna, Kogi imminent as AEDC workers call  off strike - International Centre for Investigative Reporting

 

Olusola Bello

 

The strike embarked upon by the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company has been called off.

The union embarked on strike over what they described as an outstanding payment of about N41 billion escrowed in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This followed a memorandum of Understanding MOU that was signed between the union and the  Minister of State for Power, Chairman Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission( NERC), and the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE)

According  to Godfrey Aba, chairman of NUEE  Abuja, the MOU was signed  based on the promise by the government officers that interim measures would be put in place today, Tuesday,

and payments will commence within 21 days for those who are qualified to get such payment.

The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) yesterday shut down the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) indefinitely over outstanding payment of about N41 billion escrowed in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

 

The union’s chairman in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Godfrey Aba had announced this at the AEDC headquarters in Abuja.

According to him, “the industrial action will be withdrawn only when our demands are met”.

The union leader said the action culminated in outage in all AEDC franchise areas that include but not limited to the FCT, Kogi, Niger, and Nasarawa states.

Aba said the union expected that the Federal Ministry of Power would have intervened before the strike started.

“Since they have not done that, we are still waiting for them to liaise with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure this money is released so that not only our workers will receive their entitlements, our customers will also begin to enjoy better services,” he said.

Asked how much AEDC owed the union, Aba said: “It is about N40 billion. They (CBN) are supposed to release N2.5 billion on monthly basis. And it is now getting to two years.”

The union leader recalled that in 2019, the CBN escrowed the accounts of the power distribution companies (DisCos) and there was an agreement that the apex bank release N2.5 billion monthly to the company.

According to him, apart from salaries, the AEDC could no longer pay its workers their pension, checkup dues and cooperative deductions, among others.

The union accused the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) of standing aloof in the midst of the crisis. The NUEE also accused the CBN of planning to remove the current owners of the company.

The union members carried placards bearing various inscriptions at the gate of AEDC to show their grievances.

Some of the placards read: “CBN, release approved NERC intervention fund to AEDC”; “Non-remittance of 20 months pension”; “Release thrift/cooperative deductions for eight months,” among others.

Meanwhile, the management of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company has apologised to its customers and also apologized to them for the inconvenience and disruption the industrial actions embarked upon by the National Union of Electricity Employees is causing them

According to Bode Fadipe, General Manager, AED Plc, the strike action was called off yesterday night by the union.

Following the industrial action embarked upon by the National Union of Electricity Employees, power supply to some of our areas of operation, especially those on the 11kV network, may be affected.

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