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Kidnappers threaten PHCN workers over N384bn PHCN severance

By The Citizen
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The President-General, Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, Mr. Bede Opara, on Wednesday said the announcement of the payment of N384bn severance package to  workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria from June 17, 2013, has attracted armed robbers and kidnappers to employees of the power firm.

Opara said that the hoodlums had started demanding their share of the severance package which is yet to be paid to the workers.

He further said that 'we don't want to be advertising this issue of payment. The lives of our members  are in danger. Even now that the money is yet to be paid, armed robbers and kidnappers have started harassing our people here and there.

'This  is because they heard that payments will be made from June 17. When they go to some homes of PHCN workers, they tell them that government said it had paid since June 17, bring our own share.'

He urged the government to desist from making public the date for the payments .

Opara  added, 'We really want to see that the money has been paid and not necessarily making it public that it will be paid on a particular date. Since  PHCN workers are warming up to have their entitlements, thieves are also warming up to come and rob them of it.

'So,   we want  employees of  the  PHCN to wake up in the morning and see  their money in their  bank accounts. All these announcements may not help matters because already peoples' lives are now in danger because of the money.'

He observed that government had shown some level of commitment, but maintained that workers would not applaud it (government) until the  payments were  made.

He said, 'This is because we are getting a lot of signals from people telling us to be careful not to allow government to play its game as usual.

'But we don't think that the present administration that we are seeing in the power sector will do such a thing. However, if they chose to, we know what to do. If they fail to perform, we know what to do.'

On why the payments were still delayed, he said a lot of verifications had to be done, stressing that the government had to be sure of the correct beneficiaries.

Opara added, 'Before government pays out any money,  it goes through the offices of the auditor-general and accountant-general and it has to be in line with the implementation committee's programme. So we are expecting the process to be completed because we have finished our part and we believe that government will also complement by fulfilling their own part.' – Punch