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PHCN Suspends Strike, Dares FG Over Plans To Deploy Military Engineers

Source: EWACHE AJEFU, ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF - thewillnigeria.com


ABUJA, August 26, (THEWILL) - Nigerian electricity workers today agreed to suspend their one-day old strike but with a caveat that government drops its plan to deploy military engineers to take over operations at the transmission and distribution stations shut down Wednesday by members of the union.

The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) attributed the suspension of the strike to the fact that government had acceded to their request with the release of N52 billion early today for payment to about 25,000 workers.

The National Organizing Secretary of (NUEE), Comrade Temple Timepreyeiwerima who spoke to journalists in Abuja said the military have no training to operate the PHCN facilities since according to him, "only our engineers can operate them since we are the only technicians trained on how to operate them."

"Government had early today paid into the Central Bank of Nigeria the sum of N52 billion as confirmed by our consultants. We have already commenced payment to about 25,000. This is in fulfillment of our earlier agreement," he stated.

Comrade Temple however said the strike has been put on hold, but normal electricity can only resume fully later today since the machines are old and require long hours of restarting.

The nation was thrown into total darkness Wednesday as striking workers of the PHCN shut down power transmission and distribution from all power plants and terminals across the country, as they protested the poor condition of service, 8 years arrears of monetization and casualisation of the company workers.

The action according to presidency sources took government by surprise as President Goodluck Jonathan was rather getting set to unveil the Presidential Roadmap on Power in Lagos same day.

Government had on Wednesday described the action by the striking electricity workers as sabotage against its efforts to restore power supply nationwide.