PHCN WORKERS CHASE BARTH NNAJI, COMMITTEE OUT OF ABUJA HEADQUARTERS
Hell was let loose yesterday at the headquarters of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), in Abuja as electricity workers chased away the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji and the members of his committee on power.
According to the General Secretary, National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Joe Ajaero who was at the scene, Nnaji had come with the members of his committee and staff of his geometric company to take over the PHCN headquarters but was stoutly resisted by the electricity workers and chased away.
Ajaero said member of the union had written severally to President Jonathan on why Barth Nnaji should not come near the public power sector. According to him, they were opposed to Nnaji's headship of the power sector because he had a personal interest going by the independent Power plant the is building in Aba, Abia state.
His words: We have an issue with Prof Barth Nnaji, which we have written severally to President Goodluck Jonathan. Nnaji has a business interest in the power sector because of the independent power plant he said he is building in Aba.
If he is made to head the nation's power sector, no matter under any guise that makes him a player and an umpire at the same time. We warned against this and today, he and members of his committee stormed our headquarters and they wanted to take over with the staff of his geometrics company. This angered our own staff and they were chased away.'
The NUEE scribe noted it was the desire of the electricity workers to improve on their services but that what government was trying to do was to hand over public property to private individuals, adding, that was not the way reforms were done. 'They are talking about reform. Is handing over public property to some people in the private sector the way to reform?
We, the electricity workers are not opposed to reform but all hands should be on deck. The private sector has been liberalised along time ago and some people including Nnaji were given licence to generate and distribute power but up till now, none of them have begun to generate anything.
We still depend on the one generated and distributed by PHCN and this one that we are generating will be handed over to them in the name of reform. This is what we are kicking against and not that we are against reform.
He said Jonathan and Sambo should tell Nigerians what happened in the NIPP Project which they headed. According to him, Nigerians are still in the dark while nothing had come out of the committee. He said that if President Jonathan could come out and tell Nigerians why the NIPP project, which he (Nnaji) and his Vice President chaired then, did not yield results, it would be a right step towards resolving the misunderstanding in the sector.
Efforts to get members of the committee or the Public Affairs Officer of the PHCN, Efuru Igbo to react to the development before going to press proved abortive. However, when contacted on phone, spokesman of the ministry denied knowledge of the incident.