Labour Plunges Lagos Into Darkness, Shuts Down Ikeja Electric Facilities

By Adebayo Dawodu

Lagos Nigeria; April 19, 2016: Ikeja Electric has condemned the picketing of its facilities by Labour Unions, warning that consumers living within its network could experience long periods of darkness if the disruptive protests persists.

The poor supply of power currently being experienced by customers on its network is as a result of the inability of the company’s technical personnel to access Business Units, Undertakings Offices and sub stations following the barricading of entrances and exits of all operational locations within the Ikeja Electric Network.

The Unions, parading as Citizens Access to Electricity Initiatives (CATEIN), and working in collaboration with the Civil Society Group, delivered a 15 point demand list at the Corporate Headquarters of Ikeja Electric Alausa, Ikeja. The group which claims to be made up of artisans, traders, shoemakers and ironsmiths, also included the immediate re-instating of the 229 separated staff, who did not scale through the recently concluded appraisal exercise, as part of their conditions which must be complied with in order to end the picketing exercise.

In his statement, the company’s Head of Corporate Communications, Felix Ofulue, expressed displeasure at the situation. He recalled how Lagosians had gone through untold hardship because of self-serving motives of some union leaders in the month of March. Speaking further, he reminded Labor leaders that Ikeja Electric had approached the National Industrial Court to intervene and in the filed suit (NICN/LA/228/2016 ), Ikeja Electric had secured a restraint barring “the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), their agents, officers, privies, representatives or otherwise, whether acting of their own accords or in concert with other bodies, persons or unions, from disrupting or shutting down the operations of the Company or barricading the entry and exit points of her Corporate Headquarters located at Obafemi Awolowo Way, Alausa Ikeja, or any other premises or location where the Company carries out commercial and (or) technical operations”.

He warned parties to the protest to desist from further obstruction of access points at all IE locations, noting that Ikeja Electric would seek further redress appropriately.

Ofulue noted that as a responsible company, Ikeja Electric had no other choice than to deal within the limits of law. He however encouraged Lagos residents to speak out and not allow a few individuals to hold many to ransom.

Commenting on the issue of the appraisal exercise, Ofulue stated that the process was open to scrutiny noting that it was curious that Labor was silent about over 1000 union members who scaled through the process and are still in the employment of Ikeja Electric.

“Ikeja Electric is an equal opportunity employer. Our standard requirement is excellence. It is not a witch hunt, it is about performance. We recently hired excellent visually impaired customer service staff, so why would we just send out 229 staff. The argument of Labor is flawed, especially as over 1000 of their own members scaled the same process and are still working with the company till date”, he commented.

He urged Lagosians to resist attempts by Labour to sabotage power supply and assured customers that once it is safe for staff to gain access to all locations, normal power supply will be restored to the company’s esteemed customers.