Electricity Workers Union Gives 14-Day Ultimatum to Power Minister

by Oluwatosin Racheal Alabi

The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, demanding swift action on pressing power sector challenges. Top of these challenges is the lingering non-payment of 16 months’ salary arrears and the refusal to distribute prepaid meters to Nigerians.

NUEE’s Acting General Secretary, Dominic Igwebike, conveyed the union’s grievances in a press statement released yesterday. He highlighted the minister’s perceived negligence since his appointment and cautioned of grave implications if the union’s demands remain unaddressed.

Igwebike stated, “The Minister’s nonchalance towards our unresolved issues is alarming. Nigerians are burdened with unreasonable bills without being provided prepaid meters. Meanwhile, we’re grappling with a below-par 4,500mw electricity output. Companies, notably led by Egbin Power Plc, have disregarded labor laws since their takeover in November 2013. And our 16-month salary arrears? Still unpaid.”

The union’s leadership further warned that if the minister doesn’t take prompt action, he should prepare to have the National Security Adviser’s (NSA) officials run the sector.

Adelabu’s term, according to NUEE, has been marred by uninformed statements and an apparent lack of partnership with vital industry stakeholders. This behavior, they opine, risks hampering the sector’s productivity and the nation’s power supply.

Igwebike continued his critique, “The power sector remained stable even during the two-day warning strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). Adelabu cannot simply outlaw strikes. But he seems more interested in making lofty promises without any clear path to realization. It’s like building on quicksand.”

The NUEE urged the federal government to prioritize competence over politics when appointing leaders to crucial roles. This would ensure the right expertise is brought in to rejuvenate and steer the power sector towards sustainable growth.

The power sector’s struggles aren’t new. However, with a union now demanding significant changes, only time will tell if this could be the turning point or just another chapter in the long-drawn narrative.

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